Growing up in Alabama had its ups and downs.

One of the most important things you learn is how to grow a thick skin. Even though some of the things they say about us are hurtful, we are taught by our strong, southern mamas to smile and “just Bless their hearts.”

It is true about that some of us do not take kindly to being criticized.

After Neil Young wrote two songs taking us to task for slavery and segregating, Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote the song, ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ He included the line, “well I hope Neil Young will remember. A southern man don’t need him around anyhow.”

When your state motto is, “We dare defend our rights,” you might think people would not be in such a rush to bash us. But no.

An article I read recently listed 15 things you should never say to someone from Alabama. I like to think we are a friendly bunch of southerners but after reading their list, I guess we are not.

It included things like, “what an adorable accent, say something so I can hear it again.” Yes, now that would not go over well at all. Making the mistake of assuming we are here for your personal entertainment would be dangerous. We do not do parroting.

Another one was, “we know everyone from Alabama is an uneducated redneck, but.” I guess those folks down at NASA had an off day when they trusted us with all that aeronautics and aerospace engineering. That is a lot of ciphering and gazentas(i.e., 8 goes into 24).

The article took a wrong turn when it listed, “you guys take football way too seriously down there.” It is true that those would be fighting words.

The reason we take football so seriously is because we win. Lots.

Our current coach, Nick Saban, has led the Crimson Tide to six National Championships.

But our success at the game did not begin with Saban.

Alabama football had its beginning in 1892. From 1958 to 1982, the team, led by Paul “Bear” Bryant won six national titles. Alabama leads the SEC West with 15 division titles. We hold a winning record against every current and former SEC school.

Along with our championships, we have produced three Heisman Trophy winners. NFL Sunday includes a roster of who’s who of former Alabama players.

But there is a downside that comes along with our football success. Sadly, we have some haters out there. And haters gonna do.

I was curious as to why anyone would want to hate on such a winning team, so I went to an expert. I googled the question and got my answers. Lots of them.

It appears they hate us for our winning tradition. We cannot help it if their teams keep losing. Not our fault. They say our fans are arrogant. Well, that just goes with the territory when you are winners. But they would not know that I guess.

Turns out they do not like our music. The ‘Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer, give ‘em Hell, Alabama” is not one of their favorite chants. We only do that when we have the game wrapped up, so get over it!

And they have a problem with the “Bear.” According to reports, his football rhetoric upset some people.

Some of his famous quotes include, “I will beat you with my team today and beat you with your team tomorrow,” “If you want to walk the heavenly streets of gold, you gotta know the password, Roll, Tide, Roll” and “you stick your head above the crowd, and you’re going to have people trying to knock it off.”

Bear’s words are still ringing true even today.

After our recent loss to Texas A & M, you would have thought we were toast.

Sports writers all over the country had lots to say about us. Stupid things like, ‘questionable coaching dooms flawed Alabama team,” “Texas A & M’s mammoth upset disrupts playoffs,” “Alabama no longer playoff material.” Some even called for Saban to retire because he is too old to coach.

All this fuss over a game we lost by three points in the last two seconds of the game. Who knows? That is what it looked like but maybe there was some massive fraud going on that made it appear we were losers.

Then along comes the Mississippi State game. Suddenly, we are gold again. Now the headlines read, “Alabama football is back.”

Back from where? We lost one game. Allegedly.

When your team loses one game and makes national sports headlines, then you can see how jealousy comes into play.

I also know that when you are good at something, everybody wants to be you!

Roll, Tide, Roll.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at

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