'Finishing' a good theme for football, but every sport?

I had a talk with chief copy editor John Davis on Monday about how, at Alabama, football is so entrenched in everyone’s mind that there is little room for other sports to develop their own identity. A good example of this is the term “finishing,” which has become so commonly thrown around with every sport after being planted into our minds by Nick Saban.

By no means is this column a shot at what has become the M.O. of the football team. Finishing, grinding out victories, “making his ass quit,” are all a part of what makes Alabama football so successful. But can’t that remain a football thing?

However, it has often been said that “finishing” is now the official motto of Alabama sports, but is that really true for every one of them? Does finishing really have to be the motto of the softball team, the swimming team and the basketball team? I’m not saying it isn’t important, just that every team on this campus is unique. Why can’t softball’s saying be different? What if head baseball coach Mitch Gaspard goes to his team every game and says, “Look, let’s blow these guys out by the second inning and be done with it?” Heaven forbid that at Alabama we grind out victories and we finish.

And for that matter, who doesn’t want to finish games? Other than possibly Miami Heat head coach, Erik Spoelstra, what coach sits down in front of his team and says, “Alright guys, I want a hard fought three quarters from you tonight, give me all you got. Come the fourth, though, I want you to slow it down, kind of fade into oblivion. Quit on three, let’s go.”

Everyone wants to finish. It isn’t original. Making it the motto of every single sport on campus takes away from the individuality of all the other sports besides football. Yes, at Alabama we have the best football team in the nation, but we also have one of the best gymnastics teams, as well. I don’t see coach Sarah Patterson telling her girls to go out there and “make their ass quit on the beam tonight.” It’s a different kind of sport and should be treated that way.

This spring season looks to be a promising one for the Tide. Gymnastics is ranked No. 2 in the nation. Softball looks like a legitimate title contender as it begins its season over the weekend. I challenge the student body to not only continue to support Alabama’s other successful programs, but also allow them to develop identities of their own instead of relating them to football.

Let us be finished with trying to tie all of our sports into one expectation, and allow them to develop their own beginnings.

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