We all like to consider ourselves fans, but some of us stand out from the crowd. For some, being a fan means watching a few games a year on television, for others it means going to every game and knowing every players name, hieght, weight and birth date. We all support our team in different ways. There is one thing for certain though, the BAMA nation is far spread and diverse, but when it comes down to it we are all crimson to the core. RollCrimsonTide.com will feature fans from around the world that are "Crimson To The Core" in our new article series. Anyone who wants to be in the series, or knows someone who should be featured should drop us an e-mail telling us why.
For our first "Crimson To The Core" fan article we are proud to feature one of our board members, Nate Davis. Nate grew up in Dothan, Alabama but now lives in Colorado. What makes Nate "Crimson To The Core" material you ask? You see, with Nate being a Bama fan and showing his love of the Crimson Tide is more than just a hobby, it's a religion, and his body is the temple. You see, Nate has over 70% of his upper body tattooed with Crimson Tide and Bear Bryant tattoos.
"It's ALWAYS been a religion to me as long as I can remember. Through all the great victories and disastrous defeats, we as the Alabama Nation have always risen from those ashes to gain greater glory. It is very similar to stories in the Bible. So, I decided that I was going to make my body my temple. I was going to take all the events that have bonded me to the University of Alabama and put them all over my body."
Nate grew up in Dothan, Alabama, worked for five years as an Atlanta police officer, and in 2004 moved to Fort Collins, Colorado. He currently works for a company that does background checks for the government and the military.
"One of these local Colorado men once asked, 'What has the University of Alabama ever done for you?', I thought on it for a second and said, 'Sir, my mama always told me it doesn't make a difference how you find God, as long as you find him. And through the University of Alabama, Bear Bryant, and Van Tiffin, I have found God.'
Through the leadership of Bear Bryant or just even hearing his voice he lifted my soul and still does to this day. As a young man I was very
confused, had lost faith in God. I hated myself because I was fat and picked on all the time by my older brother and kids at school. When you are young your image means a lot and you want to be respected. I was going on 15 years old when the 1985 Iron Bowl was played. My Mama and Alabama Football was really the only thing I had in my life, or so I thought at that time. I had watched every Bama game that season and everyone will remember that it wasn't the best Bama has done. My oldest brother, who was six years older than me and an Auburn fan and I were watching the game. He loved to pick on
me. So, during the entire game he kept saying 'Turn out the lights. Game over. The Bear’s dead. You might as well turn the TV off,' over and over and over he kept saying those things.
Everytime Alabama would score, so would Auburn. I was so nervous I wanted to throw up. As we all know Auburn scored the last touchdown. My brother was dancing and laughing at me, while pointing his finger in my face. Of course we got the ball back to the chants of my brother 'GAME OVER, GAME OVER' and when Van Tiffen lined up for the kick I was so sick to my stomach for allowing my brother to push me around the entire game, and all my life. When
the kick was good and the fans screaming all 240+ pounds of me jump up yelling and started the biggest fight I had ever been in. Through sheer force of weight and anger I beat my older brother. Afterwards Mama broke up the fight and put me outside to cool off. I had never felt so good about myself in my life. I stood up for myself against someone I had feared all my life. All I could think about is how Bama didn't give up. They kept fighting for what they believed in. Through hard times they never lost their faith. Van Tiffen had said he knew God was with him and didn't worry about the kick. All he could do was the best job he could. Afterwards, I had to read up on the history of Alabama Football, every single player, every coach, and the tradition, past and present. That "Kick" struck me to the very core of my existence. I had something to believe in. I had God to thank for it all. So that is how Bear Bryant, Van Tiffen, and the University of Alabama have led me to God."
Nate ironically was led to become an Alabama fan by an Auburn fan, his grandfather. His grandfather, though being an Auburn fan, revered Coach Bryant. It was while watching the 1976 Iron Bowl at the young age of six that he first became a fan. Nate recalls, "I heard the coach talk, and I fell in love. I'll never forget it."
So what's it like around the Davis house watching the Iron Bowl with his family members that are Auburn fans? "Actually the only member left in my family that is an Auburn fan is my oldest brother who I got in a fight with in the 85 Iron Bowl. My grandfather died several years back." Nate explains, "And to tell you the truth, my brother and I will socialize before the game and after to congratulate each other, but we can't watch it together for obvious reasons..LOL!! Mama said it's just better that way."
Nate's love for Alabama is clearly visible by looking at his tattooed covered body, but has it affected his life in anyway that may not be so apparent to the casual passer by?
"Actually, yes it has. When you do something silly or stupid, no one will ever remember your name, but they will always say that Alabama Fan covered in tattoos did this or that. I have always believed that when I put on my first tattoo of Alabama (99% are of Bama) that I was now a representative, willing and unwilling, of my beloved University. Young and old have walked up and asked me about the tattoos. Some are not even football fans. I get to tell them about how wonderful the Bama Nation is, our program, our beloved coaches, and the tradition we look forward to.
Alabama Fans are AWESOME! I love taking pictures with them or having my picture taken. And believe it or not, the fans of our opponents normally want a picture as well. Now, UT fans are different. Most of them throw stuff and say the most profane things (they don't care if children are present). That only makes me want to stand up and cheer louder for Bama."
Nate got his first tattoo in March of 2000 when he was 29. "I got the
signature "A" on my throat. I had heard that the throat was the weakest point and hurt the most. Now, I have always wanted tattoos but heard they hurt. So, why not get one there. If I could take it, then I could continue with the rest of my body. The tattoo didn't hurt at all. From that point on, I try to get one or two a year because they are so expensive. To me, Alabama Football, my religion of it, its tradition of players and coaches did not constitute a passive support by me."
A Crimson Tide elephant stands proudly on his right bicep, and a tattoo of the late Coach Bryant is poised on the left one. A tattoo of former Alabama quarterback Kenny Stabler can be found inside his right forearm and the Alabama state flag is sketched inside his left one.
He has a matching set of signature Alabama A's inside each of his biceps, and an identical one that he got when he was 29 just below his Adam's apple. The outside of each of his forearms spells out the words "Rammer" and "Jammer," from the University of Alabama victory cheer, 'Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer.'
His masterpiece, a portrait of the "Bear" leaning against a goalpost and wearing his trademark houndstooth hat, took a couple of years to complete at a cost of $3,500. It covers the majority of Davis' huge back.
I asked Nate if he was planning on more tattoos. “Yes, plenty, even though I'm tattooed over 70% on my upper body, I still have plenty of room on my chest and shoulders. As I have said, tattoos are expensive so I have to pace myself." He is saving up for a mural of Coach Bryant and Alabama fellow national championship-winning coaches Gene Stallings, Frank Thomas and Wallace Wade across his chest, one of the few remaining patches of skin that hasn't been tattooed with the Crimson Tide.
Nate, you are indeed "Crimson To The Core."
Roll Tide my friend!