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Friday, December 7, 2012

Roll Tide vs. The Fighting Irish

There are many words in the world’s estimated 6,800-6,900 languages that possess some words with meanings and implications that can vary like apps on an iPhone.

Aloha is one example.

Roll Tide is another example.

In America among college football fans, these are two words that can be used as a greeting or farewell, a rebuke or an exhortation, or simply an example of intimacy like a inside joke among fraternity brothers. American college football fans understand the meaning of the well-used words of the University of Alabama.

First made famous by its six national football championships won under revered coach Paul Bryant, the University of Alabama will play for its 3rd national championship in 4 years against Notre Dame University whose mascot is the Fighting Irish.

The community of open water swimmers who are also American college football fans is significantly smaller than the global community of open water swimmers who are also fútbol, but the upcoming national football championship between those who swear by the motto Roll Tide versus those who root for the Fighting Irish should be a classic battle. And the men who are the coaches for both teams espouse characteristics and a lifestyle that open water swimmers are living examples of.

On the Alabama side, there is Nick Saban known for his intense disciplined approach to the game of football. Detail-oriented, laser-focused and methodical, he demands that his players understand and abide by his comprehensive and challenging process of preparation. On the Notre Dame side, there is Brian Kelly. Inspirational and motivational on a deep emotional level, his leadership has elevated the Fighting Irish game. He uplifts his charges on a profound psychological level as well as a supremely physical one. To think, to believe, and to envision success has been part of his formula to drive a team to the national championship game.

So on one side of the football field, the players lead a lifestyle embedded with details and a focused methodology. On the other side of the field, the football players have confidence in themselves and in their teammates supported by a deeply felt belief system embedded in their DNA.

This kind of dedication and passion reminds us of open water swimmers who venture past the shores of the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania. The passion of these open water swimmers is the same whether it is a 54-year-old man doing a mile swim for the first time in his life or a working mother dreaming of a channel swim.

But while the coaches and athletes of the University of Alabama and Notre Dame play out their battle on a nationwide televised game in front of a packed stadium, open water swimmers attempt their own challenges quietly and courageously. As ESPN alludes to in its commercial below, "It's not crazy. It's sports."

It's not crazy. It's open water swimming.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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