Quitting was not an option with Bryant
Jim Grammer, When it was a game
I believe it was Winston Churchill that said, "Never, never, never quit" when he was referring to the British determination to beat Hitler and the Nazis during the dark days at the beginning of World War II.
History has proved that this determination of the English-speaking peoples saved the entire world from a ruthless totalitarian form of government back in the 1940s and provided my generation and my children's the freedom and way of life we have enjoyed ever since.
This should be a good lesson for young people and old people alike as they deal with difficult and trying situations in life. You know your Constitution does not, nor did it intend to provide us with total freedom. It does, however, provide each person with great opportunities that are not allowed to the common person in other forms of government.
It does not promise that life will not be difficult at times, it does not give everyone a "equal" status in society, it does not promise "success," but it does promise "equal opportunity." What we do with that opportunity is left mostly to us. So, I believe that the "never quit" philosophy is probably the greatest factor in what we do with the opportunities provided to us.
Now, what does this have to do with sports?
I was talking to a mother of a young lad one day and she was telling me that her little son wanted to quit the baseball team. The reason she gave was the he didn't like the coach. As I was listening to this lady, I had a flashback of my difficult days at Alabama. I thought to myself, "If this kid doesn't like his coach, boy, could I tell him a thing or two."
When my brother Richard and I were playing at Alabama and during those awful spring practices, we were convinced that all the coaches hated us and were trying to kill us by working us to death. We lived in a state of total exhaustion most all of the time. We would lie awake after lights-out and talk to each other in the dark, dreaming-up ways we could kill coach Bryant, or mean things we could do to some of the coaches as payback. Of course, none of these things ever made it out of the dream stage and we gave everything we had on the practice field, as the coaches demanded, and spoke to them in the terms, "yes sir" and "no sir."
An experience I had, that was not unique to many of the players that went through Coach Bryant's program in those days, was that I did quit. I had had it, and one day I threw my helmet about 30-yards and just walked off the field. I was very fortunate that I had parents that loved me enough that they made me go back. If I had not gone back, I would just be another of those guys you see around that are always saying, "I could have", "I should have" or "I would have." To be honest, quitting that day is still the one thing in my life I am ashamed of. I wouldn't talk about it for many years, but I have come to the point that if talking about it helps someone else to have the determination to "never quit" then maybe I've done something worthwhile.
Sports, just like any other worthwhile thing, will be difficult and trying at times. Coaches, just like captains of a ship, are not there to be loved, they are there to run the team the best way they know how and make the team successful. They are not there to please every player, because players are just people and everyone is not going to be pleased with the captain of the ship all the time.
So, I suppose the moral of this story is do not quit something you've started, finish the course, do the very best you can. Take advantage of the opportunities provided to you in this country, and do not enter them blindly, they will most likely be difficult at times, and the determination to continue to do your best during those times.