Saturday, May 6, 2017

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 328: Attend Alabama’s “A-Day” spring football game

The view from our free A-Day seats.
I’ve been an Alabama football fan for as long as I can remember, through the good years and the bad years. I even lived in Tuscaloosa for several years and went to many Alabama football games during that time and since. Despite all that, I’d never been to watch Alabama’s spring football game, which is known as the “A-Day Game.”

For that reason, I put a trip to the A-Day Game on my “bucket list” several years ago and finally got the chance to go back on April 22. My wife and kids set out for Tuscaloosa around 8 a.m. that morning and took our time riding up to the university’s campus. The game was set to kick off at 2 p.m. and was to be televised nationally on ESPN.

We got there in plenty of time, about two hours before kickoff, and found a parking space in a lot near the old rec center with relative ease. I graduated from Alabama in December 1998 and it was interesting to note the many changes to the campus during our walk to the stadium. I considered myself to have been once very familiar with the “old” campus, but much there now is unfamiliar to me.

One of the great A-Day traditions involved the captains from last year’s team having their names, handprints and “cleat prints” placed in cement blocks around Denny Chimes, which is on the Quad between the President’s Mansion and the main library. Our walk to the stadium took us past Denny Chimes, where a huge crowd and the Million Dollar Band had gathered to watch this ceremony. As luck would have it, we were on the opposite side of the street and in perfect position to see Alabama head coach Nick Saban (a huge celebrity in the state of Alabama) to exit his vehicle before making his way to the ceremony.

One of the best things about the A-Day Game is that admission is free and seats are first come, first served. We took the ramp near the main, University Boulevard entrance to the stadium and wound our way all the way up to the upper deck. We then picked out a seat near the 50-yard line behind a rail, which meant that no one would be sitting in front of us.

For those of you unfamiliar with the A-Day Game, it’s nothing more than a public practice in which the football team divides itself into a Crimson team and a White team and play each other in an exhibition game. Much talent is showcased during this event, but traditionally, the coaching staff doesn’t reveal too much from their playbook. After all, everyone (including upcoming opponents) are watching. This year, the Crimsons beat the Whites, 27-24.

In the end, how many of you have attended an “A Day” spring football game at the University of Alabama? Have you been more than once? When did you go and what do you remember about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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