For students in Tuscaloosa, National Championship a night to rememberBy Caroline Smith | 01/17/2018 9:49pm
By Caroline Smith | Staff Reporter
On Monday, Jan. 9, as the Tide rushed the field through a cloud of confetti and lifted the National Championship trophy high, students poured out of homes and businesses to flood the streets of Tuscaloosa. The Strip teemed with excitement—revelers jumped up and down singing and cheering in unison while music blared and champagne spewed all around. It was a night many students had pictured in their dreams for years.
“It was one of those moments you look back on in slow motion,” said Olivia Gevedon, a sophomore biology major who found herself in the midst of the joyous mayhem. “Despite the cold, rain, and mud, it was pure bliss in that crowd.”
The night did not have a promising beginning. Many students began the evening stressed and frustrated with the way Alabama had fallen behind Georgia. By halftime, many had lost hope that the night would end in triumph.
“We were getting to the point where we were just about to give up,” said Zachary Brown, a junior majoring in biology. “We were getting the feeling where it was difficult to hang on. But after that very last touchdown pass, it was like no feeling I’ve ever felt before.”
Brown and his friend, Tommy Williams, watched the game in a house at The Cottages at Lake Tamaha. Immediately after the victory, they, along with six other friends, piled in the back of a single cab pickup truck and sped to the Strip, blasting Dixieland Delight into the crisp night air.
“It was a very lit vibe,” said Williams, a sophomore math and finance double major, of the celebration they joined. “It was honestly like a giant party. It felt like one of those New Year’s parties that you see people get crazy in the streets for, except that it was for a National Championship.”
Friends or strangers, everyone out celebrating came together in jubilee.
“No one cared that they didn’t know each other,” Brown said. “They were just partying and having a good time in the street.”
Peyton Hazelrig, a sophomore accounting and finance double major, felt much the same about the action-packed evening. He sprinted to the Strip from his fraternity house after Alabama’s overtime touchdown pass.
“The atmosphere was absolutely insane,” Hazelrig said. “Thousands of people were in the streets going crazy. I've never seen anything like it.”
‘Crazy’ is definitely an appropriate word to describe some of the happenings of the evening. People were climbing the Strip’s puny crepe myrtle trees only to be pried off by policemen, crowd surfers floated above the multitude, and one student even witnessed a group trying to flip a car.
“The ending of the game was perfect and set up an incredible environment after the game,” Hazelrig said.
The win was a wonderful moment for all students involved. However, it had a different significance for each person in the crowd.
“Growing up rooting for teams that don’t win anything, it was really cool to experience this,” Williams said. “It was the first time that a team I’ve really been rooting for has won a national championship of sorts, and I hope this isn’t the last time I get to experience that—I’d love for it to happen next year.”
Brown had a different take on the 17th national title.
“For me, it’s growing up as an Alabama fan and finally actually being here,” Brown said. “I’ve seen the people flood the streets for years on TV, and I’ve been there now.”
Though everyone experienced the National Championship victory differently, one thing was certain for all: the emotions coursing through them that night will be long remembered.
“My favorite thing about the experience was the immense pride I felt for my school and getting to share it with my best friends and family members who called to give a congratulatory ‘Roll Tide,’” Gevedon said. “Even on that night, I knew I would never forget it.”