Forever: Alabama Football Memo

Forever: Alabama Football Memo


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The memoir FOREVER is a new addition to the Alabama-Bryant canon. The heart of the book is correspondence from 1966 through 1971 when the author, Danny Thomas, was a member of the Crimson Tide varsity football team. Thomas wrote home faithfully and unashamedly as he experienced the rigors and privations required by the winningest football coach in SEC history. The book also includes letters to and from Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant during and after Thomas' playing days. While the author was not destined to stardom as a player, he learned important life lessons at the feet of the coaching legend, such as the perseverance and resourcefulness requires to survive adversity.

The book coincides with a period in Bryant's career when his teams began to slip away from college football's throne, a period when the coach struggled to adapt to the counter culture of the late 1960's as well as an alarming number of losses on the gridiron. This was just before his fabled switch to the Wishbone. Thomas offers an up close and personal view from below, peering up at the tower where Bryant observed every practice. The author offers observations about the routines, details, and expectations for practices and games, many of them expressed in the very words The Man used in letters sent to his players. Supplementing the letters, Thomas reflects on the unique brand of leadership Coach Bryant provided, especially paradoxical notations about time lost which could never be regained. Coach Bryant committed everything he had to his notion as it applied to preparing his teams on the practice field for upcoming games while neglecting his own family. Thomas makes the case that Coach Bryant deliberately altered the definition of family to include all the teams he coached such that family and team ultimately became one.

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