If anyone has earned a free pass in the state of Alabama it’s long-snapper Carson Tinker and his family. Nearly a year ago Tinker and his girlfriend Ashley Harrison were torn from Carson’s home by a violent tornado that claimed the lives of 53 people in Tuscaloosa alone. Tinker and Harrison were tossed into a nearby cornfield, with Tinker suffering a concussion and other minor injuries, but Harrison wound up as one of the 53 who perished that day.
That’s why, even in the face of a cardinal sin like shattering a national championship trophy in football-crazed Alabama, you realize just how lilliputian football actually is in the grand scheme of things.
In a detailed interview with ESPN, Carson’s father, Carleton, explained in detail how he accidentally got hung up in a tablecloth that adorned the table where the Waterford Crystal was on display, causing it to tumble to the marble floor and shatter into hundreds of pieces.
We had our laughs at Alabama’s expense, and had it been nearly anybody else, they would have faced never-ending ridicule. If it had been anybody else, a handful of fanatics with Paul Finebaum’s number on speed dial would have given detailed dissertations on why they believed the Tinker family was actually a group of highly trained Auburn operatives set on destroying Tuscaloosa as we know it.
It’s the kind of thing they take very seriously in Alabama and literally nowhere else, but even in a place where Bryant-Denny Stadium casts a statewide shadow, that seems pretty trivial. Accidents happen, and accidents like this pale in comparison to what the Tinker’s have already been put through.
Eventually, you’d like to think that this will be the type of story that the Tinker family can laugh about, an anecdote of how a family grew closer in the face of pain and suffering. They’ve earned that much.