Let me introduce myself: My name is Kaitlin Goins. I am a student at The University of Alabama. I am, also, a huge Alabama football fan. There was never another team when picking which fan-base to join, and there was never another university when picking a college. The University of Alabama is, in my opinion, by far the greatest and most wonderful place to attend school. Bryant Denny Stadium is like no other. No other stadium sways to songs like Sweet Home Alabama or Dixie Land Delight. No other stadium has fans standing during each and every play, filling every, single seat. No other team has more than 101,000 fans filling the stadium each and every Saturday. No other team is the University of Alabama.
But today was different because The University of Alabama’s fan-base became like the others.
Today, we had the most heart-wrenching defeat I have ever watched in my 20 years on this Earth. The Texas A&M game last year doesn’t even compare.
But you are not to blame.
You see, we Alabama Football fans pride ourselves in being the loudest and proudest fan-base there is. We fill the quad even on small games, we follow our team at home and away, and we support the Tide every way possible. But this weekend, again, was different.
Perhaps, it’s the rivalry that brought out the worst in some fans, but blame cannot be placed there. Blame, rather, must be placed on fans.
You see, real fans don’t boo the kicker off the field after missing a field goal at the most-pressured game in the year at the opponent’s stadium. Real fans don’t yell hateful comments about any team member, no matter what the error. Real fans stand behind their team all 60 minutes of every game AND every single day of the year.
And, especially in your case, real fans do not forget the back-to-back national titles you assisted in the past two years.
So, I want to apologize. I want to apologize for leaving the UTC game at halftime, no matter how cold I was. I want to apologize for wondering if a single game was worth attending, considering we would murder (insert team name here) anyways. I want to apologize for the frustration I showed after the first quarter of this game. I want to apologize for fans ‘booing’ you. I want to apologize for the hateful comments. I want to apologize for the death threats. I want to apologize for the future interviews. I want to apologize for the future comments.
But mostly, I want to apologize because your fan base did not stand behind you when you needed us the most.
This game was a game to us. Stakes were high, but in the end, other than the nagging comments of Auburn fans, none of us will at all be affected by this loss.
But, this was your last Iron Bowl. This was your last regular season game. This was your last chance to play for an SEC championship. And, unless the football gods favor us this year, this was your last chance to play for a national title.
And we let you down. We let the whole team down.
For four years now, you have sold your soul to Alabama Football. For twelve weeks out of the year, you have faced other players that would like nothing more than to break your legs in half. For 365 days of the year, you have practiced every day. You have focused every day. You have put pressure on your body that you will never ever be able to reverse.
And you did it for us.
And we could not give you a break for one loss. We couldn’t even give you a break for one kick.
So instead of criticizing you, Cade Foster, I want to thank you. I want to thank you for your dedication, your practice, your endurance, and your performance over the past four years, hit or miss, win or loss. Sure AJ McCarron played well, and he had a lot of pressure also. But there is not another player on the team that has the pressure of kicking the game-deciding goal, and that is a lot of pressure. You, Cade Foster, warm up by yourself. You are on the field before any other player, and you are the last off before kick-off, don’t think I haven’t noticed. Sure you have blockers and the ball holder, but it is you who has to be exact, kicking farther than ever before, being perfect every time.
You are the true hero. Without you, there would be no 7, 14, 21 or 28 point lead. Rather, a 6, 12, 18, or 24 point lead.
So Cade Foster, whatever you choose to do after you leave your collegiate career behind, I, Kaitlin Goins, will be behind you. If you chose to play in the NFL, I will follow your career. If I had a fantasy team, you would be my first pick. If you chose to work, I’m behind you 100%. If you chose to start a family, I hope you have the most beautiful kids and dress them in Crimson and White.
And I hope, if I cross your path one day, I will be able to give you a portion of my appreciation. Following your last down at the University of Alabama, and officially being released from the team, I would happily be your first paid autograph.
But even if I never meet you, Cade Foster, I want you–or at least the Alabama fan base to know–this is not the Alabama Football we advertise. This is not the support we gave you at the national championship, and this is not the support you deserve after a heart-aching loss.
So I apologize for all the fake Alabama fans. You have nothing to be ashamed for. And if anyone says you do, show them your two national championship rings and, with class, say, “I ain’t never been nothing but a winner.”
Roll Tide, Cade Foster, Roll Tide.
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