What makes an Alabama fan?

Orry Cantrell, Contributing Writer

The University of Alabama is widely known for having one of the most dedicated fan bases in the country. As Alabama fans know best, their passion for the Tide is part of who they are, from head to toe. 

Bama on the brain 

Alabama fans feel optimistic toward their teams, and in almost every sport, anything but a win is a letdown. In recent years, the success of the Crimson Tide in a variety of sports has raised the standard to a tremendously high level.  

“We have gotten to a point now where winning is expected,” said Nick Ballard, a UA senior majoring in kinesiology and lifelong Crimson Tide fan. “Anything less than a championship [is] ridiculed.” 

This expectation to win means no off-season for Alabama fans. Even when their teams are taking time off, the fan base is still locked in. As soon as the season ends, fans are looking at potential recruits and lineups as excitement begins to build for what the future may hold.  

Crimson to the core 

The fans’ high standards for their teams are all out of love for the Crimson Tide. When it comes to college fan bases, the loyalty of Alabama fans stands tall above the rest. Supporting their team is more than just a hobby or pastime; it’s a lifestyle.  

ESPN’s famous “Roll Tide” commercial in 2010 was meant to satirize how often Alabama fans utter the famous phrase. However, anyone who has lived in Alabama or spent time in Tuscaloosa knows that the commercial is not too far from reality.  

Faithful fans of the Crimson Tide live and breathe Alabama Athletics, and crimson blood runs in their veins. It is at the core of who they are, and they carry their passion with them no matter where they go.  

Home is where the heart is 

Whether they’re from the Yellowhammer State, a Southern neighbor, or even the North, Alabama fans everywhere know Tuscaloosa is a special place. Being born and raised in Alabama, though, can cause it to happen at a very early age. 

“For me, it was growing up and watching my team win,” said Walter Junkin, a senior marketing major and Alabama native.   

However, as many out-of-state students and fans around the world will attest, the culture and atmosphere that surround The University of Alabama are infectious. For people like Jasmine Johnson, a UA alumna who studied public relations and an Oklahoma native, the love that they develop for the Crimson Tide and the University stays with them, no matter where they go. 

“It’s hard being back home because people don’t understand how truly special game days in Tuscaloosa are,” she said.  

Faithful feet 

According to Sports Illustrated, Alabama has the eighth-largest fan base in the country, with around 5.34 million people making up the Crimson Tide faithful. This large fan base shows up for their team, no matter the destination. 

Along with a national, vocal fan base, many local fans travel with the Crimson Tide as well, enhancing the team’s strong presence on the road. If the Tide were scheduled to play on Mars, crimson and white rockets would be making the trip.    

The Crimson Tide are a spectacle no matter where they play. Even in the most hostile environments, there is respect for the Crimson Tide because of the legacy of success and greatness that comes with the name and the faithful fans who follow.