| OT Sad news out of Tuscaloosa tonight...

UAgrad93

Jack of all trades!!
Crimson Tide Club
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9,512
My son read it to me last night as we were headed to the hunting club to get in a turkey hunt this morning. I didn’t even know Luke aka Fluff, but with his personality on Twitter and the fire he showed for BAMA hoops, I feel as though I lost a family member. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family and friends. I know CNO, the team and staff are crushed as well. RIP Big Man!!
 

1CrimsonTider

Registered
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Alabama basketball lost its biggest fan with the passing of Luke Ratliff, and I lost a friend



Bama fans cheer on the Tide during the game with Vanderbilt as the Crimson Tide finished the home schedule Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Coleman Coliseum. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]


Often, as we try to find our way through the gray, impenetrable cloud of grief that can accompany a sudden, unexpected death of a young person, we try to find comfort in the phrase that the final days were their happiest, that they were “doing what they loved.”

Those words have never been truer, nor have they ever brought less solace.

Luke Ratliff, who passed away Friday at 23, loved Alabama basketball. He wasn’t just a fan, although he was certainly that. He loved it in a big, broad, exuberant way, the way he loved life. On the last day I spoke to him, just before Alabama was set to play in the NCAA Tournament at Bankers Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, he told me he had never been happier.

That wasn’t because he was the center of attention during Alabama’s big postseason run, a sort of plaid-wearing symbol. He was actually ambivalent about that sort of spotlight for himself, but he was passionate about anything that brought attention to his beloved basketball team.

That fandom was how we met. He had a presence on social media, well-known as “Fluffopotamus88”on Twitter. He’d reply to something I’d posted, or post something funny himself, and eventually I spoke to him and his Crimson Chaos group in passing before games.

In the 2020 season, I asked him if he was going to make the trip to Kentucky. He said he really wanted to go, had never been to Rupp Arena, but wasn’t sure if he could. So I told him was welcome to ride along with me. On the long eight hours up, and eight hours back from the Bluegrass, we became friends.

Luke talked about all sorts of things, not just basketball. We talked about the Bourbon Trail and his love of NASCAR. He would talk about his battles with anxiety, which he had shared on social media. Easygoing and intelligent, his interests were wide and his heart was big.

So we’d speak at Coleman Coliseum, or when I would see him on the road. I rarely saw him in Tuscaloosa – he was 23 and, at 62, the social world of the university is not my world.

Then the 2021 basketball season arrived, unlike any other. Attendance at home games was limited by COVID-19, and Alabama fan presence on the road was essentially non-existent except for Luke, who was there every time.

He’d make long, hard road trips places like College Station, Texas, and Columbia, Missouri. You would notice him in a crowd of 15,000, but in a near-empty area, cheering for the visiting team, he stood out. He stood out so much that occasionally the opposing players would shout back at him, or opposing fans would target him for abuse – which he took in stride, more or less.

He ultimately made his peace with South Carolina’s Frank Martin. I won’t conjecture about LSU's Will Wade.

His unique effect on people had two qualities. First, his own wit and good nature became apparent if you knew him. The outpouring of online affection Friday night, from a devastated Alabama coach Nate Oats to the extended fan base that his father, Bryan Ratliff, called his “other family,” made that obvious. Second, there is something about seeing someone as passionate as Luke was about basketball: not just because the team was winning, but because the way he embraced every aspect of it, victory or defeat, is rare and cannot help but stir something.

When Alabama clinched the SEC regular-season championship in Starkville, Mississippi, Luke was overjoyed, as the SEC Network video made clear. Luke and his friends cheered on the Crimson Tide afterward, stayed to cheer the team as it boarded the bus. Then, at some point on while he was on Highway 82 and I was still writing in Mississippi, he called me.

“How’s it going?,” I asked. “Great. We just passed the bus. We’ve got to get to Coleman (Coliseum) before they do, so we will be waiting for them.”

He did. And there he was, chomping on a big cigar and reaching across a barricade to give Oats a hug.

That’s where the solace lies, if there is any for those who knew him: family, friends, followers on social media who never met him but loved him anyway.

He was happy in the past few weeks, but all I could think of on Friday night was that call, how happy he was and how, maybe, at the end of the journey, he will be standing there, in plaid coat and twirling a cigar, and saying, “It was great, but I had to hurry so I’d be here to greet you.”
 

Sgt. Lincoln Osiris

Lead farmer
Crimson Tide Club
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6,237
China used this lab-manufactured mutated flu variant as a bioweapon.

Is it real? I believe so.

Does it hit home a little more personally in instances like this?

ABSOLUTELY.

As bad as this is, it still doesn't explain why flu deaths the past year plummeted by almost 90% and motorcycle wreck and gun deaths were falsely labeled as Chinavirus for politically-motivated mass scare tactics.

China owns the entertainment and media industries in this country, and is in bed with about half of our politicians in DC. Literally in bed with them.

And this is precisely why no one that matters has called this for what it is, and labeled China a terror threat. Winnie the Poo over in Beijing is a global terror threat in the same quadrant as Hitler himself and everybody is smoking his pole for it because of the almighty dollar.
 

TerryP

Ivory Club
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48,167
FTA:

I bet everything I own, in addition to my left testicle, that he was recently immunized.
Was that a requirement to attend the tournament? I don't recall. Considering how many away games he attended this season alone I'd think it wasn't as recent as you may believe. I've nothing to back that up.

On a related note there are a few iconic fans that come to mind today; some good, some bad. The twins. The "Tide" guys. We're in a different age but I have to say he ranks up there. He's the "Shorty" Price of basketball at Bama?
 

Elderfalsedemigod

Not an alter...maybe an altar
Century Club
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2,373
dammit that sucks so bad. I had no idea. Just clicked on in the middle of hiding Easter eggs and doing a cookout for my grands and see this

prayers for peace to his family and loved ones

dude was an absolute treasure and as passionate as anyone I’ve ever seen

RIP Fluff and Roll Tide
 

Sgt. Lincoln Osiris

Lead farmer
Crimson Tide Club
Messages
6,237
Was that a requirement to attend the tournament? I don't recall. Considering how many away games he attended this season alone I'd think it wasn't as recent as you may believe. I've nothing to back that up.

On a related note there are a few iconic fans that come to mind today; some good, some bad. The twins. The "Tide" guys. We're in a different age but I have to say he ranks up there. He's the "Shorty" Price of basketball at Bama?
Yeah the twins were cringe.

Not even that cute, but just decent-looking enough to use Bama games as a means to gain their 15 seconds in the early days of social media.

MySpace was the thing, wasn't it?

Somewhere in a posh penthouse apartment, Tom is snickering in disapproval while shaking his head saying "Miss me, yet?"
 

50+yeartidefan

Touchdown Club
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8,806
Was that a requirement to attend the tournament? I don't recall. Considering how many away games he attended this season alone I'd think it wasn't as recent as you may believe. I've nothing to back that up.

On a related note there are a few iconic fans that come to mind today; some good, some bad. The twins. The "Tide" guys. We're in a different age but I have to say he ranks up there. He's the "Shorty" Price of basketball at Bama?

shorty price. Now that was a 60s legend.
bet few on here-remember him

I certainly do. I think I remember my dad knowing him Don't remember why though

but him getting on the goal post at end of games!!!!
 

It Takes Eleven

Quoth the Raven...
Scholarship Club
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29,129
Yeah the twins were cringe.

Not even that cute, but just decent-looking enough to use Bama games as a means to gain their 15 seconds in the early days of social media.

MySpace was the thing, wasn't it?

Somewhere in a posh penthouse apartment, Tom is snickering in disapproval while shaking his head saying "Miss me, yet?"

Let's not forget the Ramp Lady...



 
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