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

Following rare back-to-back losses, coming weeks will show Tide’s true mettle

For the first time in a long time, The University of Alabama gymnastics team has looked human, even vulnerable.

After all, head coach Sarah Patterson and company are coming off losses in consecutive weeks against Georgia and Florida. With the Tide’s loss to Florida, it marks the first time since January 2010 that Alabama has had two losses in head-to-head matches in a single season. It also marks the first time Alabama’s lost in consecutive weeks since January 2009.

Needless to say, it’s been tough for the two-time returning champs. Even so, Alabama still has a chance to rebound and make a lasting statement on the team’s resiliency heading into the remainder of its season.

Unlike sports such as football, basketball and baseball, a gymnastics team could theoretically lose a large number of its regular season meets, but still make the NCAA Regional Championships, and from there the NCAA Championships. All that matters is that the team turns in a good enough score to qualify, and from there it’s anyone’s game.

Not to say Alabama is in danger of losing any more matches this season, but it is comforting for fans to think the Tide’s losses to the Bulldogs and Gators might not be as back-breaking as previously thought.

With that said, the Tide needs to right its course in the coming weeks, especially with the Tide’s looming match against the 15th-ranked Auburn Tigers, a team Alabama hasn’t lost to in 32 years and 104 consecutive meets.

Indeed, the remainder of the Alabama’s schedule will prove whether Alabama is a true national championship contender or not. For the past two seasons, Alabama has proved itself able to overcome adversity en route to its national titles.

In 2010, Alabama just barely edged the returning champion UCLA Bruins, 197.650-197.375. The Tide entered its final event of the NCAA Championships a mere .25 points ahead of the Bruins, but didn’t fold under pressure, giving Patterson her fifth national championship at Alabama.

That adversity was even more profound in 2011. A mere two weeks after placing second to Florida in the Southeastern Conference Championships, the Tide turned around to win first in the NCAA Regional Championships, NCAA Semifinals and NCAA Championships. During that run, the Tide outperformed the Gators twice, once in the semifinal round, and again in the championship round, by a mere .75 points to win the championship again.

In both of those seasons, the one thing that marked Alabama as the national champions wasn’t its talent or ability. Rather, it was its ability to overcome adversity. Patterson said it best after last season’s championship: It’s not always the most talented team that wins, but the one with intangibles like heart and perseverance.

In the past, Alabama has shown those intangibles. And, once again, it’s found itself in yet another situation to demonstrate them. The Tide’s season isn’t over, not by a long shot. But, much like in years past, it’s going to have to prove it has those championship qualities.

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