MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - I think there are three distinctive groups of people disappointed over Alabama's loss to Clemson this week.
First, there are the fans, those who simply enjoy following the Crimson Tide. It's interesting and a lot of fun, but there's not much personal investment. They'll get over the loss pretty soon and wait for next season.
Then there are the students, parents, teachers and alumni. The Capstone family. Disappointment surely runs deeper for these folks because they have an investment in the football program. They, too, will get over it though, because the national championship is just one manifestation of everything that's great about the University of Alabama.
But the players are those I sympathize most for, especially the seniors. Even though recent history has tried to prove otherwise, you can't win this game every year. Yet at Alabama, perhaps more than at any other school, the national championship has become the goal of the program, a reachable goal, and this team worked extremely hard to get there.
But winning doesn't build character like losing does. And building character is one of the best reasons for having a football program. As painful as this loss was to these young men, they will go on to other life challenges as better men for how they deal with this inevitable part of life. Losing.
I'm sad for them, and I envy them all.