Life in Alabama

I've lived in the southeastern United States for the majority of my life and I have yet to escape sports fanaticism--namely football. It's its own religion. I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and, on game day, JUST the football stadium alone served as the fourth largest city in the state. I've lived in Alabama for the better part of a decade residing forty-five minutes from the local mecca of pigskin passion and my experience even that far away has been intense (by which I Alabama Football(!) utterly permeates nearly all of life. If not vigor for the Tide, then a sworn allegiance to the War Eagle of Auburn that comes with a life-time commitment of University of Alabama hatred.) to say the least. I am not curious to see what life is like in Tuscaloosa, where the color of blood is not coincidentally crimson. I'm close enough already. 
As far back as I can remember there has been a special place (apparently next to God) for the Alabama head coach in the hearts of the devoted. My mom's family is from Huntsville, Alabama which is just as avid as the rest of the state and thusly "The Bear" is pretty much ingrained in my mind. I. Cannot. Get. Rid. Of. It. I haven't cared about sports to any significant degree for a seriously long time but this does not grant me any sort of respite. Ever. 
My friend James has been writing a book in his head that largely has to do with this idea. As this way of life is all I've witnessed in my short years, I am not sure how it differs from his upbringing in St. Louis, but I can at least recognize it as completely insane. But it remains that he is intrigued and will one day write down his thoughts and I swear the book will be a best seller. So, to do my part in helping him out (read: cash in on his fortune), I try to contribute as much as possible to his research. This summer I grabbed him a sweet line illustration of Bear Bryant hand-burned/drawn into a piece of wood that was then shellacked and made ready for wall hanging. It was pretty intense. I do think I got the better end of that two dollars. The seller got the satisfaction of passing along a portrait of a great man to yet another person of like mind. Sort of. 
But this devotion to the football team and the demi-god that assuredly is the head coach is clearly still around. The Alabama Crimson Tide just hired a new football coach called Nick Saban. AND HOW! The contract he signed made him the highest paid college football coach in history. 
I found an Alabama flag (boring story) and draped it on Bryan's desk so he'd find it one morning, mostly to see his reaction. He is a Georgia guy. Well this flag-prank turned into a satirical photo shoot featuring a shirtless Bryan posing as a die-hard Alabama fan.