• Don Collins

Anion Sports Holiday Blog 2018 Day 19

It feels good to be back, doesn't it? That's a hell of a double entendre. I feel like this has been the longest 15 days of my life. For those that haven't been keeping track, that was the last time I posted a blog for the holiday season. My apologies, but I put finishing my degree and my high schoolers first. Between the three, something wasn't going to get done. First step in adulthood is learning how to prioritize. But the first few days as a college graduate have taught me how valuable time really is. There's a reason why Lil Wayne said "we could buy time every store would sell it" on Open Letter: it's true.

But here I am, back again like I never left it. I noticed an interesting parallel that was going on in the college football world. Yesterday, as I planned my comeback to the holiday blog, the University of Alabama-Birmingham completed one of the best comeback stories ever.

UAB 37 NIU 13. Courtesy of ESPN

Just two years ago, UAB had discontinued their football program in a really weird situation that I didn't understand at the time, but also didn't possess the emotional intelligence to understand that for the players at the university, they were losing much more than a football team. The amount of politics that went into the decision to shut down the program was something that I wasn't aware of and had to do some digging to find out, but here's a link to a timeline of events.

Seeing how much sports mean to the development of athletes and the community in the two years since UAB lost its program made me appreciate the bowl game last night. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch the game live due to prior commitments, but it was not lost on me that they dominated the Huskies, losers of six straight bowl games, to claim their first bowl season victory ever in their third appearance. UAB QB Tyler Johnston III threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns. WR Xavier Ubosi had three of those touchdowns to go with seven catches and 227 yards in the air.

To me, the resurgence of a program left for dead holds a lot of weight in my heart. Everybody always downs the little guys and that's what seemingly happened FROM THE OWN PEOPLE IN CHARGE AT UAB! It would have been easy for everyone to give up, just wave the white flag. Instead, the outpouring of support from the players and the community allowed "the impossible" to happen: the guys in suits couldn't win. The underdog who supposedly didn't have enough funding to continue the program came back and within two years had an 11-win season. So much for them focusing on their medical program instead of football in the state of Alabama.

My takeaway is that before we dismiss something because we don't understand it, think about how much it means to those participating. I know it's probably easy to look over the little schools that won't compete for the CFB playoff, but remember that the program means something different for everyone. It is valuable to them and if you're going to be the first Division I football team to disband in almost 20 years, you better have a damn good reason.

My hat goes off to UAB for their season. Perseverance and hard-work does pay off.

#2018 #Holiday #Blog #AnionSports #NCAA #UAB #NIU #LilWayne

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