Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama football fans reflect on favorite game day traditions

CW / Natalie Teat
The Alabama Color Guard in the 2022 Homecoming Parade on October 22, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

As summer begins to wind down and a new school year begins, students at The University of Alabama have one important date on their minds — Saturday, Sept. 2.

The Crimson Tide will take on Middle Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium, but until then, fans are reflecting on their favorite memories and looking ahead to making more this season. 

I’m with the band

One of the most talked-about aspects of game day is Alabama’s marching band, called the Million Dollar Band. The MDB consists of around 400 students who serve as instrumentalists, color guard members and Crimsonettes. 

As the season approaches, color guard performer Ella Williams is looking forward to performing in front of Gorgas Library during the Elephant Stomp

“I like being able to see all the people that come to support the band. The energy is electric during Elephant Stomp, especially on the very big rivalry games,” Williams said. 

The Elephant Stomp tradition consists of a short band performance with cheers led by the cheerleaders and Big Al before game time on Saturdays. 

Williams, a junior majoring in nursing, said her favorite band tradition is when the Million Dollar Band sings the UA alma mater

But before the Million Dollar Band takes center stage at Gorgas Library, the members take a moment at the beginning of each season to create a bond between the veteran band members and the new members. The veterans of the band sing Alabama’s alma mater to the new performers as a welcoming gift. 

The moment comes full circle at the end of the season when the band sings it to the seniors as a farewell. 

“That’s definitely something I’ll miss once I graduate, is singing the alma mater in that situation and then also at the end of every game, no matter if it was a win or a loss for the team,” Williams said. 

Livi Thomas, a senior majoring in political science, also reflected on her favorite game day traditions as Crimsonette co-captain, which includes performing the pregame performance before each home game in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“There’s just something about having the traditional songs that we play like, ‘Yea, Alabama,’ ‘Bammy Bound’ and ‘Tusk,’” she said. “Those always get me excited for game day.”

One of her favorite Crimsonette traditions is the prayer circle the twirlers make together leading up to taking the field before pregame. 

“We have someone who always prays over our performance for the day, and I love that part,” Thomas said. 

As her final season in the MDB approaches, Thomas said her favorite band memories consist of performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and opening for the Rockettes in New York City in 2021. 

“Just being a part of a tradition that my family has shared since I can remember, of watching the parade, and actually going from that to being in it was absolutely incredible. I was so grateful for that opportunity,” Thomas said.

Chris Wilson, a senior majoring in music education, is a member of the MDB’s drumline. He plays snare drum for the marching band and said his favorite game day tradition occurs when the drumline performs in front of Denny Chimes on the Quad before kickoff. 

“It’s not the game, but we still get to play for a large crowd,” Wilson said.

Wilson also enjoys being a part of the drumroll leading up to kickoff after pregame. 

“The drumline stays back on the sidelines and we do a drumroll whenever they do kickoff, and it’s just really awesome because we’re literally right there by the football team,” Wilson said.

Game day eats

While some fans grill out on the Quad, others prefer to go out to eat on game day.

Because time is tight for him on game day, Wilson said he usually swings by Cook Out after morning practices, or he’ll go out after the game to have a sit-down meal if traffic isn’t too bad.

Both Williams and Wilson said they enjoy eating at Newk’s since it is near campus and takes Dining Dollars and Bama Cash.

Even though she doesn’t usually get to eat out on game days, Thomas said two of her favorite game day restaurants include Full Moon Bar-B-Que and Rama Jama’s

“I love Rama Jama’s, and their burgers are phenomenal. I love Full Moon’s Bar-B-Que, but they also have really great hotdogs, and their chili is really good,” Thomas said. 

Brant Cook, a graduate student working on his master’s degree in hospitality management with a concentration in sports, said his No. 1 game day restaurant is also Full Moon Bar-B-Que, where he orders the two-meat combo.

A close second for Cook is also Rama Jama’s, where he recommends trying the National Championship Burger. 

“Whenever we don’t make it over to Full Moon, that’s our next place to go, because we really do enjoy going there,” Cook said. 

Chaney Scott McCorquodale, a junior majoring in news media and communication studies, said she prefers to cook on game days or go to tailgates to eat. 

“I like to think I’m a pretty good cook, so I normally make food myself, but I have gone to Phi Slam’s tailgate a lot,” McCorquodale said. 

Phi Slam, a campus organization that hosts events without alcoholic beverages, hosts tailgates many of McCorquodale’s friends attend. If she is not at the Phi Slam tailgate, McCorquodale will have her game day meal at her sorority house. 

The student section

The student section of Bryant-Denny Stadium is the place to be on game days in Tuscaloosa. Underclassmen sit in the upper bowl, while upperclassmen sit in the lower bowl. 

No matter where students sit in the stadium, they are bound to feel the excitement of Crimson Tide football.

McCorquodale said she loves the unifying spirit game day brings about between fans.

“I feel like there’s such a sense of camaraderie on game day. Every Saturday in the fall, I just  end up being more and more grateful to get to go to a school where it seems like every day is a holiday,” McCorquodale said.

She said she even jokes with her family that her favorite holiday is the Iron Bowl, which is Alabama’s biggest rivalry game, against Auburn University. 

McCorquodale recalled one of her favorite game day memories where she said she met three people on the Quad, who had graduated from the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota.

She said they had heard about Alabama football and had to come to Tuscaloosa to experience it for themselves. 

“They didn’t go to any other SEC school, they came to The University of Alabama because that passion we have for our school and for football is unrivaled,” McCorquodale said. 

As McCorquodale remembered her first time experiencing the student section for herself, she said she could see the cheerleaders, Big Al and the dance team getting everyone hyped up before the game.

“I looked at my friend and said ‘You know, I love this school. I love football. I love America,’” McCorquodale said. “There’s really nothing like it. Even if you go to an NFL game, there’s truly nothing greater than being in Bryant-Denny on game day.”

Cook said his favorite thing about being in Braynt-Denny’s student section is hanging out with his friends and getting Denny Dogs from the concessions or breaking down plays from the stands.

As for any game day superstitions to help his team win, Cook said he usually stands for the entire game.

“Every time I believe I’ve sat down, it’s just not been a good experience,” Cook said.

As he nears graduation, Cook said he’ll miss the start of fourth quarters in Bryant-Denny the most.

“That’s the loudest Bryant-Denny Stadium ever gets. Just the atmosphere and just enjoying, for the most part, wins in that great stadium,” Cook said.

McCorquodale and Cook both said one of their favorite game day traditions occurs during the fourth quarter when “Dixieland Delight” is played throughout the stadium.

“So many schools have a song that they sing in the stadium, but you really can’t beat ‘Dixieland Delight,’” McCorquodale said. 

They both take head coach Nick Saban’s words to heart as McCorquodale repeated his famous phrase, “Play for four, stay for four.” 

The process

As Nick Saban preaches to his players and fans, Alabama football is all about “the process.”

Cook said his favorite part of Alabama football is how process-oriented everything truly is. 

“There’s a process in order to achieve that level of excellence that the football team and fan base expects,” Cook said.

Cook said the culture and process around Alabama football is like no other.

“Alabama is the standard, not only on the field but off the field. It’s tradition rich. It’s pageantry,” Cook said. “It’s what college football is all about.”

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