Before last year’s Iron Bowl, Holly Anderson (EDSBS, etc.) wrote me an e-mail asking me (thanks Kenny) to answer some questions related to Auburn gameday culture for Dr. Saturday’s / Yahoo Sports weekly tailgating guide, something I had forgotten about likely because she never did anything with the answers (because I e-mailed them to her too late — sorry again!).
The other day, when I got on EDSBS to look for an e-mail address — when you post screen caps from a 1987 interactive VCR football game of Jimmy Johnson strangling Barry Switzer, you do it in the hope that Orson and Co. (that’s right up their alley, isn’t it?) will make your day with a traffic-jamming link, and when they don’t take the hint, you think you should try to maybe make them take it — I saw Holly’s name (she’s posting the hell out of Media Days) and realized that I already had an address.
Memory jogged! (And only slightly tweaked).
Hopefully it’s good for a few hits of its own.
Hi Jeremy —
Kenny Smith gave me your name as a possible source for a Yahoo! Sports column I’m writing on the Iron Bowl. We cover a different tailgating scene every week (here’s a recent one, just to give you an idea), and I’m trying to get perspectives from as many hometown folks as possible. Would you be interested in answering a few brief interview questions via email?
Sure Holly — I’m not much of a tailgater, but I am hometown and hopefully plugged into enough of the vibe for some decent quotes.
Here’s the question set; answer in three words or three paragraphs, whatever makes you happy. This goes live Thursday thanks to the short week, so anything you can get to me by Wednesday afternoon would be great.
1. Clue in the uninitiated–what defines the Auburn gameday experience? What makes a proper fall Saturday on the Plains for you?
2. Pre- and postgame hangouts: Got a favorite gameday bar? Where are the legendary watering holes in town? Where’s the best spot to fill up before an afternoon game or get a hangover breakfast Sunday morning?
3. Any anecdotes from past years you’d like to share? (Anonymity guaranteed, if necessary.)
4. What essential wisdom would you like to impart to first-visitors to your fair school? (Where to set up, secret parking lots, etc.) And, more abstractly, for first-timers: What elements of the gameday experience are not to be missed?
5. What’s your poison? Does your school have a signature cocktail?
6. Is there an unspoken Tigers dress code? What will you and yours be wearing?
Also let me know how you’d like to be credited in the acknowledgments (real name, screen name, links to your blog, Twitter feed, whatever).
Hey Holly, hope you got my earlier e-mail… sorry this is so late… might be too late I guess, and I have nothing in the way of watering holes or dress codes or hangover help or secret parking, but for what it’s worth…
Auburn fans, at least of a certain stripe, have this thing that we’re nicer than everyone else. We are, of course, but in recent years it’s risen beyond the brochure – it’s a sense of self, but also of duty: to preserve the fleeting yearbook romance of the Loveliest Village, to align our team with God’s favor, and to make other fans feel as bad about themselves as they should. I flashed a very Proverbs 25:21-22 kind of smile — I thought they’d appreciate the coal reference — and said “Welcome to Auburn” to every jersey-to-the-knees Mountaineer I saw. None replied. They stared. Then they wrote about it on their message boards after their team lost. Mission accomplished. Welcome to Auburn.
When Bama comes to town, a lot of this is lost: Hate the sin, hate the sinner.
The Eagle: folks talk about getting to Tiger Walk in time, or getting in the stadium before the band comes out, or in time to see the team warm up. But when people tell you ‘you need to see the eagle fly,’ you need to see the eagle fly. Seriously. Seriously. Once you’ve seen 80,000 people summon a giant bird from the top of the stadium onto a piece of meat at the 50 yard line by screaming the word “War,” missing the eagle is basically like missing kickoff.
The thrill is two-fold:
1) HELL YES! We’re Auburn! We’re awesome! War Eagle! God, country, destiny, victory!
2) What the hell is that thing going to do? Sometimes it’s perfect—maybe one and a half laps around before swooping in for the kill. Sometimes it just hops straight down. Sometimes it kind of floats in the middle and then drops like a stone. But sometimes it circles, and circles, and people chuckle and keep shouting, and it keeps circling and keeps… keeps… keeps… and people are gettin’, you know… and suddenly, holy crap, did it actually just fly out of the stadium for a second?… is there an off switch?… what are we going to do if our beloved bird doesn’t come back, we’ll be a YouTube laughing stock………….. oh man, it’s back inside… it’s still circling, we’re going on two minutes here…aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr Eagle! Hey!
Toomer’s Corner: you hear about it a lot — and of course you probably wouldn’t want to be there if you’re an opposing fan — but despite how hyuck, hyuck simple it sounds (toilet paper, trees, GO!), impartial observers would really probably dig watching the White Christmas aftermath of a huge win. It’s kind of surreal.*
Thanks for asking, and, again, sorry!
* Holly actually put it much, much better without me: “It’s a grandly goofy tradition and the finished product never fails to impress your inner freshman.”
* Was Tre Smith’s Touchdown Flip against Florida deliberate?
* Auburn fan chisels “War Eagle” into the Sphinx
* Fans equate Iron Bowl losses with the end of the world—now confirmed by science!
* Auburn is the question, Cam the answer on Jeopardy!
* Derek Jeter’s guardian angel spotted—and he’s an Auburn fan
* Bama pays professional boxers to beat Auburn for the first time
* War Eagle IV attacks Florida player, Auburn penalized 15 yards
* The Great Bo Jackson A-Day Race of 1984
* 1950 Auburn Tigers stacked at coed