Auburn fans may be still be celebrating their unbelievable victory over Alabama this weekend, but the New Yorker’s Reeves Wiedman wonders if the hype surrounding the annual Iron Bowl detracts from the problems facing the Yellowhammer State in a recent post on the magazine’s website.
In his commentary on the game and its build-up, Wiedman reflects on the “insanity” surrounding college football, from its overly-invested fans to its lack of compensation for student-athletes. He notes that fascination with college football is stronger in Alabama than almost everywhere else, saying “it’s a virus that spreads, with no vaccine in sight.”
After spending time in Alabama for a recent piece, Wiedman asks ”whether or not the state’s obsession with football was a positive or a negative: Did the attention placed on a game enhance life in the state, or simply help its citizens gloss over issues that might be worth confronting?” While he acknowledges that athletics may have contributed to some of Alabama’s progress (desegregation comes to mind) the yearly matchup seems to Wiedman to be “a distraction from the state’s many economic and social problems.”
Ultimately though, Weidman feels Crimson Tide and Tiger fans may just be looking to boast about “the thing in which [Alabama] is most successful.” After all, other than when a natural disaster strikes, Americans often disregard the state, Wiedman alleges. “Who are we, in parts of the country with professional sports to cheer and (relatively) thriving economies to enjoy, to deny Alabamans a bit of crowing?”
Via Jeff Poor.