Emily Pitek Clifford stood while the rest of the Alabama crowd watched as she began to chant in rhythm at the Women's College World Series as the Crimson Tide played Tennessee. By the end of her second chant, the entire Alabama softball contingent was standing and chanting with her in harmony on the third base side of the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
If anyone didn't know after that, Clifford, 26, leads Alabama faithful in Tide softball fandom. She's hard to miss in crimson and white overalls, red sunglasses and a bright pink sombrero.
But why a pink sombrero?
“Actually, it started with Alabama gymnastics when we beat Florida,” Clifford said. “When we played Stanford in the Super Regionals, many years ago, we were losing and I ran to my car and I got this hat and we won the Super Regionals.
“It's my good luck rally cap. I don't take it off.”
Her allegiance has not waned.
“I've been doing this eight years,” Clifford said. “We've been at this a long time. We're seasoned vets.”
Other coaches know who she is and seek her out. Alabama fans and players love her. She leads Tide fans in cheers and has even put on a cheering clinic for the players' parents, combining many loud voices into a powerful Roll Tide choir that includes garden gnomes.
“This year we've had the luxury of being joined by the gnomes,” Clifford said. “The gnomes decided to pop out of the garden and come to Alabama softball games.”
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