‘Be sure to call your mama:’ Bryant’s words still ring true today [COLUMN]

Published 3:15 pm Monday, December 30, 2013

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

Arguably one of the greatest commercials in history was a bit that involved beloved (depending on your fan allegiance) Alabama football coach Bear Bryant.  The ad was for South Central Bell, and featured Bryant sitting in his office, all alone after the players and other coaches have gone home.

Putting down a phone, he addresses the audience, telling them about how his coaching staff made sure the players had time to call home.

At the end of the video, Bryant looks at the camera, and asks “Have you called your mama today?”

Then, in a somber tone states, “I sure wish I could call mine.”

Say what you will about him, but Bryant got it. The man won a great deal, but he also lost a bit, too. In the end, though, he knew no loss on the field was as great as that of losing a loved one.

Sports teach us a lot about how to deal with the struggles of life; on the field or court there are so many lessons about overcoming, coming back or humility. Yet nothing really prepares us for the loss of someone close to us.

I learned that the hard way a couple of weeks ago. I lost my grandfather, a man who meant the world to me. It hurts. It will always hurt in some way, and I can’t bring him back. There will be a void there from here on.

The beauty of my job is that I cover a great form of therapy; sports are great because you can immerse yourself in them, and over time, that void closes a little. Never completely, but enough to make peace.

That said, there are more important things out there than wins or losses. I implore you, residents of Shelby County, if you have someone you love and haven’t spoken to in a while, call them. Call them and tell them how much they mean to you. I’m fortunate to have had a great relationship with my granddad that I have no regrets upon his passing.

But I sure wish I could call him once more.