Have You Met?

Do you remember Super Bowl XX held in New Orleans in 1986? Well Alabama “Bama” Glass does, because he was an NFL Line Judge at the game. Bama recalls: “What a great honor and a thrill it was to be there.”

Bama worked as a Referee for the NFL from 1979-1995, and he also served as a College Scout and observer of Officials for the NFL. In addition, he was the Clock Operator at various games.

Bama’s football career began when he played end for the Colorado Buffaloes from 1951-1954, and along with his referee and scout positions, he was an engineer for 11 years and was involved with several other business ventures throughout the years.

Alabama Glass is a man with a clear vision of what his purpose in life is; he is a man of the Lord, and that’s what drives him. Bama believes strongly in the power of positive thinking and makes himself available to mentor and encourage others. Bama is buoyant and exuberant about life, and his faith is a great source of strength for him.

Alabama Glass is genuine, kind and considerate of the needs of others. He’s a real gentleman and a renaissance man who might remind you of someone you may have read about in a book about a different era.

Also, with a fun name like Alabama Glass, you can’t help but add that to his list of unique and admirable qualities.

Since you are a Colorado native, is there a story behind you being named “Alabama?” Yes. Before I was born, my parents were told they should leave their beloved home in Birmingham, Alabama because my older sister was ill and would have a better chance of staying healthy if the family moved to a drier climate such as in Denver. As plans were being made to move the family to Colorado, my dad, a native of Alabama, vowed that if he and my mom had a son, they would name him Alabama, and so that’s how I got my name, but I was born here in Colorado.

When you were a young boy, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? Besides being a happy person, I always enjoyed mathematics, so that’s how I got into the field of engineering.

What is one of your fondest childhood memories? My dad would take me and my twin sister, Virginia, to the Bonnie Brae Tavern on University Boulevard when we were about six-years-old. He would buy some boiled ham and buns, and he’d make sandwiches for all of us; and then he would order one glass of beer, and he would request two shot glasses, and he would pour just a little bit of beer in each glass and give it to us. I remember he said to us: “Now have a taste, and never get in the habit of wanting to have a lot of alcohol.” It worked, because, fortunately, neither one of us ever had a problem with alcohol.

What is a piece of wisdom your parents gave you that you will remember all your life? Help yourself the best you can, and then it makes it easy for you to go out and help others. You truly can realize the advantages of helping another person.

What are some words of wisdom you can give us from Alabama Glass? If you keep moving up in life and become successful; you have to stop, turn around, and remember to say to your fellow man, “How may I help you?” – extend your hand, and smile and shake their hand. Every time you learn something new, write it down, and after you write it down, repeat it in your mind, because repetition is one of the best learning processes. Also, try to use as much of your five senses as you can.

How did you become involved with the Arapahoe House organization? I saw that the organization was doing a wonderful job at what they are trying to do. They have made great achievements. I also had some experiences with people who were recovering drug addicts or alcoholics, and I felt my experiences with these people could do some good. Arapahoe House asked me to be on their Board.

Are there other nonprofit organizations you are – or have been - involved with? Yes, the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD), and the National Football League Alumni, and their “Caring For Kids” Program.

Is there a charitable event you really look forward to attending each year? I enjoy all of them but really look forward to the NFL Alumni Golf Tournament that benefits “Caring for the Kids.” I belong to the Rocky Mountain Chapter, and all the money goes directly to the kids. Helping to support others is one of the greatest things you can do in your lifetime.

How can we get our young people more involved in charitable giving and volunteering? Teach them to respect their elders and teach them to have self-discipline. Also, help them to develop the habit of giving back when they are really young; the more you give the more you get. Teaching them to save their money early in life is important too – and to learn to be patient.

What is something people may not know about you? I like giving anonymously. I really don’t expect any reward for anything I’ve given or done.

What is your greatest strength? I have good organizational skills, and I have a true love of mankind and a faith and belief in God. I have learned to move on in life and know how to forgive and forget. Without forgiveness, you are living an incomplete life.

What is your greatest weakness? I can sometimes get overbearing. I might raise my voice when I feel strongly about something, and I’m trying to get over doing that.

What is your greatest fear? I don’t have a fear at this point in my life. When I think about fear, I ask God for help. I have a lot of faith and that gives me a lot of faith in myself. It helps you be self-confident when you know that God is there. Everything can be overcome. And to have people behind you and supporting you helps too.

What are some of your favorite quotes? Benjamin Franklin’s famous words: “Don’t be afraid to fail; if you are, you will never try.” And Winston Churchill’s: “To make a living, it’s what you get, and to make a life, it’s what you give.” Also, the acronym for the word Faith: “Faith always inspires the heart.”

There is a big gap in this country between the wealthy and those living in poverty; what can be done for those who don’t see much hope for their future? When you see someone who needs help, you have to help people one on one, and open up the door for them. Take the initiative, and go up and talk to them. If you can help them develop a positive attitude about themselves, and give them some hope for themselves, you can make a difference. I ask God to help these people.

What’s the best book you have ever read? The Power of Positive Thinking and The Power of Now.

What are your favorite sports or leisure time activities? I like to play golf and I participate in several tournaments a year

What word best describes your life right now? Beautiful.

What is your idea of the perfect vacation? Being in Hawaii. I enjoy every minute there. I ran into an old friend of mine there once, and we played golf together. And as long as my wife and I are on vacation together, it’s perfect.

Who is your hero/mentor? One of them is Billy Graham because of his message of always maintaining hope and faith.

Who is the most interesting person you have ever met? I’ve met a lot of interesting people; but when you talk about football, it probably would be Walter Payton the well-known football running back.

What do you still want to learn how to do in your lifetime? Write a book. I’m taking a lot of notes, and I do a lot of reading right now.

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title of it be? Just like the title of my talks: Faith, Family, and Football – in that order.

What’s up in the future for Bama Glass? To continue to be there for people and help them develop attitudes of positive thinking and hope. Doing good things now, because there is no time like the present. To keep my chin up, keep smiling, and always be patient.

How do you want to be remembered by future generations? Nothing to do with anything financial or certain achievements - just to be considered a fine person.

What do you want your epitaph to be? “A Witness for God.”