Throngs of fans brave weather to buy Bama championship gear late Thursday night

Fans line up at Prattville Academy Sports store to purchase game merchandise - Photo by Marc Parker

Prattville – The bitter cold weather and icy road conditions did not deter hundreds of the Bama faithful who rushed to be first in line at the Prattville Academy Sports & Outdoors store to purchase commemorative merchandise after the game Thursday night.

The Alabama Crimson Tide won their 13th National Title by defeating the Texas Longhorns 37-21 in the BCS Championship game. After the victory, fans hurried to Academy Sports located in The Exchange at Home Place to be the first in line to grab a souvenir of Bama’s historical win.

T-shirts and caps with National Championship slogans were for sale, as were shirts that read, “messin’ with Texas.”

Carrie Cornelius, manager of the Prattville Academy Sports & Outdoors store, said that they reopened at the end of the championship game.

“We closed at 10:00 PM, gathered here to watch the game, and then got ready and prepped all of this to open up for the crowd,” Cornelius said. “The merchandise was pre-printed so we have been getting it in the store all week.”

2009 National Championship caps sold at Academy Sports - Photo by Marc Parker

According to Cornelius, if the merchandise sold out Thursday night, there will be more coming in on Friday.

“We’re here until either the crowd is gone or we’re out of merchandise,” said the manager.

Prattville resident Al Hatchett was one die-hard Bama fan who definitely wanted a piece of football history that night, and patiently waited in line at the door, freezing, but happy to be there.

“I thought the game was fantastic … been a Tide fan my whole life,” said Hatchett. “My uncle used to be Coach Bryant’s pilot for 25 years.”

For Brady Paulk, a Prattville Lion football player, the championship win was something he had waited for his entire life.

“I didn’t get to see the 1992 championship,” he said. “I was born two months and eleven days after that game.”

Lifetime Bama fans and sisters Lakeisha Deramus and Aleshia Taylor from Prattville didn’t mind the length of time spent in line waiting for their chance to buy memorabilia.

Aleshia Taylor and Lakeisha Deramus inside Academy Sports purchasing game gear - Photo by Marc Parker

“We did not mind the cold at all … we’re planning on doing this next year!” Deramus exclaimed.

David LaPointe, arms filled with red t-shirts, came to buy for his entire family and also a brother-in-law who lives in Texas.

“I’m mailing my brother-in-law the ‘messin’ with Texas’ one,” LaPointe said.

LaPointe, a former Auburn fan, is quite impressed with the football program at Alabama.

“They’ve got a whole lot of tradition and hopefully with Nick Saban they can win a couple more of those crystal championship trophies,” LaPointe said.

Nick Saban is the first coach with BCS titles at two schools; LSU and Alabama. This championship came three years after Saban left the NFL to take the job as head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Article by Melissa Parker

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