Everyone in Tuscaloosa remembers April 27, albeit a dark memory. On that day earlier this year, the exuberant college town turned into a horror flick, as an EF4 tornado tore through the city, killing 50 people, including six students.
This a part of a series of tornadoes that struck other parts of Alabama and parts of Mississippi. According to a USA Today report, more than 7,200 homes and business completely destroyed, or about 12 percent of Tuscaloosa’s fragile infrastructure.
Posts mark memorials of where lives were lost, the city in shambles. But for the state of Alabama, and particularly Tuscaloosa, this Saturday marks a new beginning: college football.
“The most important thing about Sept. 3 is that for a few hours, we’re able to take our minds off of what happened on April 27,” Tuscaloosa mayor Waltor Maddox told the USA Today.
Whether by the grace of a higher deity or just blind luck, if luck was even on Tuscaloosa’s side, the campus went untouched.
A mile-and-a-half wide tornado ripped through the town, came dangerously close to Bryant-Denny Stadium, but did not touch any part of the University of Alabama.
Dark days will pave way for brighter nights when the Crimson Tide hosts Kent State this Saturday.
“It’s not going to help the cleanup; it’s not going to help rebuild. But it is going to create a positive spirit to help people continue to do that,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Typically the man behind the curtain of humanitarian efforts, even Saban was out with his wife, Terry, helping at shelters and searching the rubble for possible survivors.
A No. 2 Crimson Tide team returning nine starters on defense may not completely numb the pain, but Saturday and the next Saturdays to come will provide a fix that the loyal fans need.
Because even an EF4 tornado with speeds up to 190 mph can’t stop this narcotic for the Alabama faithful. Roll tide!