Good Lessons from Great Coaches

Elephants are lucky creatures. Placed on shelves or by doorways, they inspire luck and longevity. There is a dispute about which way a lucky elephant holds its trunk! The belief is that an elephant with the trunk pointed up brings luck and one with the trunk down is bad luck. I sometimes can give the trunk of one of my many elephants a stroke whenever I feel like I need a little extra help. Try it out!

When I think of elephants, I think of Big Al, the mascot for the Alabama Crimson Tide (my alma mater). It is because of Big Al that I have a fondness for this beautiful mammal. Elephants are all over my house!

How did the elephant come to represent Alabama? Well… In 1930 Alabama played Ole Miss and at the end of the quarter, there was a rumble and an excited fan shouted, “Hold your horses, the elephants are coming!” Need I say more?

Roll Tide Roll! Football season is almost upon us! My husband cannot stop talking about it! Everyday he says, “It’s almost football season!” I’m excited, too, because with football comes fall, food, and family fun! Everything is choreographed around the game.

The house will smell like chicken wings, baked beans, and roll tide rolls (all served on elephant platters)! It will be filled with the noises of my husband, Dad, brother, and kids cheering on the Tide! My little ones like to get in on the action too! Like every normal SEC fan, I deck my children out in Bama gear and teach them the fight song. It’s their birthright!

I am a proud native Texan and like most Americans live and breathe football in the fall. But, it’s not just the game; it’s the ambience that naturally comes with it! The food, Million Dollar Band, Bama cheers, Big Al, Coaches “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings (two former coaches who were as dependable and lovable as an elephant)…

The Big 12 is not as exciting to me as the SEC (because I went to Alabama of course). Both are competitive conferences with loads of history and following. But if you’ve ever actually been to an SEC game, it just feels different! I say this having been to my share of Big 12 games and they just don’t compare! My dad will concur and he played football at UNC at Chapel Hill, NC! There’s just something about the South and football!

I will never forget the day I met Gene Stallings (Alabama’s coach 1990-1996) unexpectedly at my school! It was Halloween! I teach 2nd grade, so like all elementary teachers, came dressed up for the fun! I was dressed up like Madeline (from the children’s storybook). When I saw him, I became star struck and just broke down crying and started jumping up and down like he was a Beatle telling him I went to Alabama!

I had the unique pleasure of teaching Gene Stallings’s granddaughter 2nd grade a few years ago. So I met him again the year I taught her and this time I was a fairy! I know Coach Stallings has had numerous fans approach him but I wonder if I was memorable in a sea of dressed up children with fairy wings and a tiara!

I want to share these powerful words from two amazing Alabama coaches that I think can be inspirational to parents:

Coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant once said about Alabama football:

“Every time a player goes out there, at least 20 people have some amount of influence on him. His mother has more influence than anyone. I know because I played, and I loved my mama.”

“When we have a good team, I know it’s because we have boys that come from good mommas and pappas.”

And Coach Gene Stallings said after the ’92 Ole Miss game:

“You don’t have to flaunt your success, but you don’t have to apologize for it, either”

To wish you luck rooting for your favorite football team this fall I suggest stroking an elephant’s trunk and making “Roll Tide Rolls” Enjoy!

Roll Tide Rolls
1 cup of Big Al’s Milk
1 cup mashed potatoes
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cake compressed or 1 package dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
2 elephant eggs
6 cups flour
½ cup butter, melted

Scald milk; add potatoes, shortening, sugar, salt, and cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in water and add to lukewarm mixture. Add elephant eggs and beat Tennessee, add 1 ½ cup flour and continue beating Auburn. Then add remaining flour to make stiff dough. Turn out on floured board and knead LSU thoroughly. Place dough in greased bowl, grease top of dough; cover and let the tide rise until doubled in volume. Turn out onto floured surface, knead lightly, and roll tide roll to ½ inch thickness. Cut dough into 2-inch squares; pull opposite corners, dip into melted butter. Place ½ of dough in each of two loaf pans alternating positions. Let the tide rise until doubled; bake 350 degrees for 1 hour. Yield; 2 loaves

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