I know that in the past, I’ve not had the nicest things to say about the Bahamas Bowl.
It most certainly has its warts. It’s hard to get people to watch as it’s played in the middle of the day on a weekday (at least this year like last it’s on a Friday). It’s hard to get people to attend (you get a month’s notice and need a passport to travel there, and the locals only care so much).
That being said, I was initially a bit bummed out that my personal favorite team, the UAB Blazers, would be heading there for their glorious return to the postseason. However, the voice of reason known as my wife put it best when she said: “you can’t just think about the fans, you should be thinking about the players first.”
She’s absolutely right.
When you look at the Blazer roster and rattle off Shaq Jones, Tevin Crews, Darious Williams, Collin Lisa, Stephen Pickren or Wally Adams, you talk about guys who started with UAB football four years ago and either stuck it out with Birmingham or made their return with The Return.
When you think about a bowl game as a reward for all of the hard work that went into becoming bowl eligible, the choice of the Bahamas Bowl for this group of Blazers makes by far the most sense.
The UAB Blazers had to achieve bowl eligible status twice, completely shut down their program and restart it almost from scratch just to be chosen for one bowl game, so why not let that one trip be a special one that these players might not experience ever in their lives without this bowl game?
Shaq Jones and Tevin Crews spent four years, literally tens of thousands of hours, making this opportunity to play football in December a possibility and then a reality, so why not give them the one bowl game whose fringe benefits include a vacation to a tropical paradise?
It’s easy to be selfish and think about what you as a fan are missing out on because the team you follow is traveling to a destination you won’t be able to attend.
When that urge strikes just do what I did; think about the selflessness that the players on UAB’s roster have shown on a daily basis for multiple consecutive years, think about the work they had to put in to help get their team brought back from nothingness, and think about the work they had to put in after all that in order to set a new program record for wins when the world was just hoping they’d suck less than UTEP or Charlotte.
Think about all that, then nod and say to yourself “yeah, you go Blazers. You enjoy the hell out of the Bahamas and the bowl game and revel in every moment of fun that’s coming your way next month because it’s the least that can be done in exchange for everything you’ve done for the entire city of Birmingham.”