Rooting for my student-athletes


After years of profession-mandated detachment and objectivity, it’s just not in my nature to fervently root for any particular college sports team, not even the Crimson Tide. I’d prefer that Alabama wins everything, but it’s not that big of a deal if it doesn’t. I do, however, fervently root for the student-athletes who’ve been students of mine. I root, for instance, for Jalen Hurts — to play well, which he has, to graduate, which he did, and to play for whatever freakin’ college he wants to regardless of what anyone has to say about it (kinda like, you know, the way coaches go to whatever freakin’ school they wish). After Jalen’s you-wouldn’t-dream-of-this-even-if-you-were-writing-fiction comeback tale in the 2018 SEC Championship Game, I mentioned Jalen in the same large lecture class that Jalen took in a previous semester. Jalen, I told them, always sat in the front row. Jalen, I told them, didn’t even use all the free class absences that I allow. They applauded. To which I offer a fervent “Yay.”