Losers don’t get cake at Alabama

Nick Saban personally sees to it that the losers of his spring game only eat franks and beans

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Losers don’t get cake at Alabama
Illustration: Shutterstock

I have no problem with winners getting things that losers don’t. Participation medals should be called what they really are: Door prizes. Thank you for showing up and giving Billy and Timmy someone to beat on for an hour or so, now go eat your complimentary Nature Valley bars in the parking lot with the rest of the children who didn’t prematurely hit puberty.

However, winners should be able to do whatever they want with their hard-earned prizes, and if that’s giving a losing teammate a slice of cake, so be it. There’s such a thing as a good winner, but don’t tell that to Nick Saban.

The overlord of Crimson Tide football and leader of men has a longstanding policy for the winners and losers of its spring game. If you win, you get a nice dinner complete with cake for dessert. But if you lose, all you get is lips, assholes, and an FT of fiber, aka franks and beans. And god forbid a winner shows some love and good sportsmanship to a teammate, because Saban will personally see to it that you either eat your cake or throw it in the garbage.


Admittedly, I wish Saban was more forceful in denying cake to Malachi Moore and Cam Latu. It’s predictably good natured among coaches and players of the Tide. Most of my anger is mock outrage, but at the same time, if I asked you what coach would deploy a tactic that sounds like a Logan Roy parenting flashback on Succession, most of the guesses would be “Nick Saban.”

Also, the way to go viral, Nick, is to grab the slice from Dallas Turner after he offers it, spike the multi-layered chocolate dessert on the ground, and make all three players lick the floor clean during the down portion of 1,500 push ups.

How do you expect to beat Georgia multiple times next year if everyone has gone soft from good sportsmanship and calories. National championships aren’t won with good tidings and campfire stories. They’re achieved through sweat, blood, ruthlessness, and a healthy fear of failure.


If you have two kids, and pit them against each other in a game of one-on-one basketball with a Twix bar on the line, shouldn’t you be proud of their moral compass if the winner offers the loser one of their bars. Not at Alabama, and not under Saban.

“Ah, how cute, they’re sharing” is a sentence he’s never spoken or even thought of. Remember that scene in The Dark Knight when the Joker kills the gang leader who put a bounty on him, breaks a pool stick in half and announces to the deceased leader’s leftover goons that he’s holding “tryouts” to earn a spot on his “team”? That’s how I assume Alabama spring games went down before they were televised.


Oklahoma drills to see who has to transfer to UAB. Seven-on-sevens for a spot in the dorms that aren’t next to the racist Greek houses. Rosa Klebb sucker punching lineman in the stomach with brass knuckles to see how well they handle pain. (Yes, I went to From Russia with Love for that joke, so my apologies if a nearly 60-year-old James Bond reference didn’t land.)

Honestly, I have more of a problem with the franks and beans part of this than depriving someone of cake. Thanks for throwing in the slice of Wonder bread, but can I just get the hotdog on a piece of white bread with the beans on the side? Forcing “student-athletes” to eat a meal usually reserved for children who can barely operate a fork is fucking demeaning.


And what if I want mustard on my dogs? Am I supposed to drizzle it on top of a heap of Nathan’s natural casings and Bush’s Best like a psycho?

That’s almost as deranged as forbidding your players from sharing in the spoils of victory following a meaningless scrimmage.