Blazer Fans Eager for the Return of UAB Football

 ========= Old Image Removed =========1Array
(
    [_wp_attached_file] => Array
        (
            [0] => 2017/08/Will_Harris_UAB_Football.jpeg
        )

    [_wp_attachment_metadata] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:5:{s:5:"width";i:1152;s:6:"height";i:783;s:4:"file";s:37:"2017/08/Will_Harris_UAB_Football.jpeg";s:5:"sizes";a:12:{s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-336x228.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:336;s:6:"height";i:228;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:5:"large";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-771x524.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:771;s:6:"height";i:524;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-140x140.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:140;s:6:"height";i:140;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:12:"medium_large";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-768x522.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:768;s:6:"height";i:522;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:35:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-80x80.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:80;s:6:"height";i:80;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-600x338.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:338;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-600x600.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:600;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-458x311.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:458;s:6:"height";i:311;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-390x265.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:390;s:6:"height";i:265;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:28:"ab-block-post-grid-landscape";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-600x400.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:400;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:25:"ab-block-post-grid-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-600x600.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:600;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Will_Harris_UAB_Football-125x125.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:125;s:6:"height";i:125;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}}s:10:"image_meta";a:12:{s:8:"aperture";s:1:"0";s:6:"credit";s:0:"";s:6:"camera";s:0:"";s:7:"caption";s:0:"";s:17:"created_timestamp";s:1:"0";s:9:"copyright";s:0:"";s:12:"focal_length";s:1:"0";s:3:"iso";s:1:"0";s:13:"shutter_speed";s:1:"0";s:5:"title";s:0:"";s:11:"orientation";s:1:"0";s:8:"keywords";a:0:{}}}
        )

    [_media_credit] => Array
        (
            [0] => Will Harris
        )

    [_navis_media_credit_org] => Array
        (
            [0] => 
        )

    [_navis_media_can_distribute] => Array
        (
            [0] => 1
        )

)
1622022202 
1504093553

UAB senior Will Harris (center), along with his family, show off their homemade UAB sombreros.

Will Harris

Tracy Wayland says UAB green and gold is in her family’s blood. Her late husband worked at UAB and graduated from the school. And her children went there. She, like many other fans, cannot wait for UAB Football’s first game Saturday, two years after university leaders reinstated the program.

Wayland is hoping her two-year-old grandson will handle the festivities okay. But more than that, she says reviving the football team is about UAB getting back to the line with other universities. “I’m looking forward to seeing the experience that we have at other schools,” says Wayland. “That’s what the students deserve.”

UAB senior Will Harris is pumped. He’s been going to UAB Football home and away games with his family since he was a child. And when they go to games, they go all out. “We all made these specialized sombreros,” says Harris. “One of them had these little UAB mini-helmets on it. One of them had tassels hanging from it. One of them had fan shakers on it.”

Harris says he’ll have butterflies in his stomach on Saturday waiting for that afternoon kick off. “That first walk through when I go through the gates and I see that stadium, it’s gonna be…it’s gonna be some tears,” says Harris. “It’s gonna be hard.” It’s emotional, he says, because it represents a lot of hard work on the part of students, players and the community to bring the team back.

It’s a similar feeling for UAB alumnus Jess Taylor. “There’s going to be a moment in that day where I have to stop and go, ‘It’s back. We’re here. Let’s do this,'” Taylor says.

Taylor describes himself as a crazy UAB fan. He says the excitement is tempered just a bit by the fact this team was shut down once before. He’s optimistic the Blazers are here to stay. “I think we have a football team for good,” Taylor says, “if we support it.”

He expects that first game against Alabama A & M will be electric. “I think they’re gonna come out and that first hit … we may have to stop for five minutes so the guy can get up,” Taylor says.

UAB senior Will Harris says he likes rooting for the underdog. It demands loyalty, not mere bandwagon fans. Harris is not dismissing those other college football teams in the state; it’s just that UAB is his team.

A young Will Harris got a picture with then-UAB player Paul Linksy at a fan event.

Will Harris
A young Will Harris stands alongside then-UAB player Paul Linksy at a fan event.

Harris recalls his encounter with former UAB player Paul Linsky and an unlikely autograph.

 

Birmingham-Southern baseball team vies for an NCAA title as the school prepares to close

When Coach Jan Weisberg called the Birmingham-Southern College baseball team to an impromptu meeting on March 27, players were confused. They gathered together in the locker room and found out the news – BSC would close on May 31.

EPA formally denies Alabama’s plan for coal ash waste

The federal agency says the state’s plan was not as protective as federal standards, allowing toxic waste to remain in unlined pits that may contaminate groundwater. Alabama officials say they will appeal.

Here’s what you said were the hidden gems in Walker County

There are things we notice about where we live that others might miss. That might be a hidden gem or other surprise. We set out to discover a few of them in Walker County at our recent News and Brews community pop-up.

After years of increases, Jefferson County sees a decline in overdose fatalities

Following years of record-breaking increases, Jefferson County is finally seeing a decline in overdose fatalities. We talk to local officials to better understand the reasons for the drop, and if it’s a sign of a longer-term trend.

Alabama district attorney says ‘justice demands’ new trial for death row inmate

Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr filed a brief expressing his support for Toforest Johnson’s bid to receive a new trial. Carr has supported a new trial since 2020, but the latest filing detailed the findings of a post-conviction review of the case.

After decisive loss at Alabama Mercedes plants, powerful auto union vows to return and win

Newly elected UAW President Shawn Fain said the union will return to Mercedes and will press on with efforts to organize about 150,000 workers at more than a dozen auto factories across the nation.

More Arts and Culture Coverage