If you are not an Alabama or football fan, don’t stop reading, because this is not just about football.
Talking heads on television, newspaper columnists and radio know-it-alls talk about “The Process” when referring to Nick Saban’s reason for success at the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University, having won four total National Championships for the two schools.
My understanding of the real meaning of The Process came as a result of the Alabama-Tennessee game that took place on Saturday, October 26, 2013.
That being said, I would like to say that The Process does not belong to Nick Saban – he didn’t invent it. He seems to just do a good job of what his parents taught him to do.
This “Process” is prevalent throughout the Southeastern United States and I’m pretty sure it is elsewhere because Coach Saban himself came from West Virginia. I don’t think West Virginia is in the South or the north; it’s in the mountains or something.
Coach Saban learned under the legendary Coach Don James who recently passed away. Coach James coached for many years at the University of Washington and before that, Kent State University, in Ohio.
Is The Process Coach James?
No, Coach James was born in Ohio and I’m pretty sure he had good parents who taught him The Process.
It’s common sense.
Work hard, help people reach their goals, be kind and generous and raise a family that thinks the same way.
That is what I think The Process really is about.
I’m willing to bet that Coach Saban would agree.
My most recent experience with The Process was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on the weekend of the Alabama-Tennessee game, but didn’t involve anything that Coach Saban did before or during the game.
It involved my getting inside to see the game. I’m now very sure that it (The Process) was at the University of Alabama before Nick Saban was hired as the football coach.
Living out of state, I can generally get to one Alabama game each year. My main reason for going is not to see the game, but to see my oldest daughter who is a Junior at the University of Alabama. (She presently has a 4.0 and I want to say “Summa Cum Laude Mercy” more than I want to say “Roll Tide.”)
We paid too much for our four tickets back in July from one of those online ticket sales places. If you want to go to just one game, you almost have to do that. We paid about double what the tickets were worth. In other words, we invested somewhere around $600 just to be able to see the Alabama-Tennessee game.
A couple of nights before our flight South, we realized we could not find the tickets. We were sick, there was yelling and there was crying. It was the Alabama-Tennessee game and we did want to go and it was $600 down the drain.
We came to the conclusion that the envelope containing the tickets had been thrown away by mistake.
There was still sickness, yelling and crying.
From the time we realized this to the time we were about to board the plane, I was on the telephone begging and trying to find a way to have the tickets reissued. If I talked to the online ticket folks once, I talked to them at least twenty times (or more).
The online ticket folks were just middlemen for the person who sold us the tickets. It turned out the person who sold us the tickets was just a middleman for the person who sold him the tickets. It didn’t stop there.
There were a lot of “middlemen.”
So many, the folks from the internet ticket place couldn’t get it figured it out.
We were out of luck and it was our fault.
Without the original purchaser’s permission, the University of Alabama ticket office couldn’t just reissue tickets. They were kind, but they had a policy that had to be followed.
We were going to see our daughter and also letting our second daughter, who is a senior in high school, take a tour of the campus. We would worry about the game when we got there.
The Friday morning before the game on Saturday, my second daughter had an official visit scheduled to tour the University of Alabama with her mother. She wants to study history and through her hard work and excellent test scores has earned a full academic scholarship to the University of Alabama.
She loved her visit and the people there showed her The Process of working hard, helping people reach their goals, being kind and generous and exhibiting these qualities to others.
Paul, in the Office of Admissions asked my daughter if she was staying for the weekend and going to the Alabama-Tennessee game. My second daughter’s mother had to respond to this question, “Well, that is a funny story,” and admitted her part in the losing of the tickets.
To make them feel better, Paul said, “Things like that happen all the time.”
Come on Paul… Nobody (but us) loses Alabama-Tennessee tickets.
I was not there. I would have mentioned the $600 without laughing.
After we ate lunch on Friday, my second daughter noticed she had missed a call from an Alabama area code. After checking her messages, she realized it was a lady with a sweet Southern accent from the Office of Admissions.
From the backseat of the car, my daughter called back and started the conversation with the nice lady (with a sweet Southern accent). She started by telling her that there were three people with her. (My two girls have a younger brother – boys are different than girls – I will leave it at that.)
The conversation continued, my daughter kept saying, “Yes Ma’am”… “Yes Ma’am”… “Yes Ma’am”….
She’s my daughter, she says “Yes Ma’am.”
We went back to the Office of Admissions where I got to meet and hug Paul, the fellow who got us four more tickets to the Alabama-Tennessee game. He just put them in an envelope and gave them to us.
I did not mention the $600, but I did tell my only son if he opened the envelope and checked to see where the seats were before we got out the door, I would use a different sort of “Process” on him.
The children discussed who should keep the tickets safe. One of my daughters ended up keeping them; they wouldn’t tell us which one.
The next day was game day and even though we had been given four tickets, the $600 still was eating at me. Tim, the fellow who runs the ticket office had told me to stop by and see him at “Gate 32” before the game and he would see what he could do.
Tim was kind and told me to wait for ten minutes.
Tim went upstairs to talk to the Tennessee ticket fellow and they figured out that the tickets I had originally purchased were from a Tennessee fan who was unable to travel to Alabama for the game.
They just printed me four new tickets. Please note that I had proof of paying for these and what the seat numbers were, etc.
Tim walked around outside of the box office and handed them to me. I hugged Tim.
Good people in Alabama and Tennessee (and Ohio, West Virginia and Washington). When I say Washington, I am referring to the state where Don James was a college football coach.
Now I had eight tickets and I felt a little bad. We decided the best thing to do was to find someone who needed them.
The first fellow I met was there celebrating his 56th birthday, his name was Chuck and he was a minister of sorts who runs a program around Hoover, Alabama that uses sports for mission type work.
He was a Baptist. I told him about my Mama being a Baptist Missionary.
His mother had given him the money to buy tickets for him and his wife for his birthday.
I gave him two tickets. I told him to just put the money in the collection plate at church, or use it for his mission work or give it back to his mama.
He hugged me.
The Browns from Daphne tried to pay me, I said, “These tickets can’t be bought or sold, they were given to us.”
The little boy just smiled.
The game was great. Well, if you were an Alabama fan, it was great. The Tennessee folks around us were nice, as were the Alabama fans.
So, The Process does not belong to Nick Saban, it can and should belong to all of us. It involves working hard, helping people reach their goals (and find their tickets), being kind and generous and raising a family that thinks the same way.
Coach Saban and Barrett Jones do know The Process, but so do Paul, Tim, Chuck, the Browns from Daphne, my children, ladies with sweet Southern accents and folks just about everywhere.
Knowing about it and doing it are two different things.
Now get out there and hug somebody!
Cranks My Tractor
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I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and hugging people.