Home / Culture / ‘You can teach Auburn football, but you can’t teach genius’: a conversation with Auburn YouTube sensation Chris Lowe

‘You can teach Auburn football, but you can’t teach genius’: a conversation with Auburn YouTube sensation Chris Lowe

"Another one saved."

We can’t stop watching it, and neither can you: the YouTube video of Auburn alum Chris Lowe jokingly indoctrinating hundreds of South Korean school children with Auburn football cheers and trivia by way of English language lessons has more than 20,000 25,000 30,000 views since it was posted* on Monday.

For a Auburn-themed video without any football highlights or rap rock, that’s pretty viral.

“I wouldn’t say we expected a big response to our video, but we were certainly hoping for one,” says the video’s producer Lauren Bercarich, a former reporter for a CBS affiliate in Cincinnati who, like Lowe, has opted for a new life teaching English to South Korean students in Seoul. “[Lowe’s] original vision… was to get hundreds of students together to teach them the Auburn chants with the intention of putting the footage online.”

In the video, Lowe leads an assembly of students in “Bodda Getta” and a call and response of “Auburn… Tigers.”

“Chris originally did not want to be the focal point of the video,” Bercarich says. “He wanted it to be all about the children.  But my husband and I know that Chris is a funny guy and we thought if we wanted the video to get some attention, we had to make it fun and creative.  Chris agreed…and you can see where that vision led us.”

The Daily Show-esque featurette shows Bercarich interviewing Lowe about his teaching methods with his students in “Auburn 101”, as well some of his students, all of whom have been given English – and Auburn-related -nicknames.

So far “Bo”, “Cam”, “Newton”, “Cadillac” (“Cadillac, how’s it rollin’?” — “Like a first round draft pick.”), “Jackson”, “Campbell”, “Aubie” and “Shug” (“He’d never heard of Auburn… another one saved.”) and other students have learned that Auburn is undefeated, has 117 national championships and will beat Oregon in the national championship by the scores 72-17 (“It’s going to be close.”), 117-3 or 0-0, because, as “Campbell” told the class, Oregon sees Auburn before the game. . . and forfeits.

“I tried to teach the students not to predict Auburn winning by more than 100,” Lowe said. “It’s just not Christian-like.”

We got in contact with Lowe, who is currently working towards a master’s degree from Auburn online, to find out how the video was pulled, what it’s like to be an Auburn fan so far away from the championship action, and if any of his students have gotten into Auburn football off-camera.

TWER: What’s your Auburn story?

I graduated in 1998 with a degree in Philosophy. I am the only one from my family to attend AU. I am grooming my children to, of course, to choose AU. They have an AU sign on their door and sing the Auburn fight song every night before bed along with their prayers. They are 7 and 4.

TWER: Where are you from originally?

I am originally from Memphis, TN. After college, I moved to Nashville, TN where I met my wife. We then moved to Phoenix, AZ and then on to Seoul, South Korea.

TWER: How long have you been in South Korea? Why’d you go? What do you do? How long will you be there?

We have been in South Korea for 1 1/2 years. Funny now to picture, but prior to moving to South Korea, I was a professional ballroom dancer. It is a difficult industry to be in with a family. We owned our own dance studio in Arizona that took a lot of time and effort. We decided our family needed a drastic change, so we moved to South Korea to teach English as a second language. We plan on being in South Korea until our children are finished with school. That’s about 10 or so years.

TWER: Who came up with the idea for the video? Did you expect it to get attention? How long did it take? What sort of reaction have you received? Have you gotten any grief for it?

I came up with the idea for the video. I thought it would be a great way to talk about football with my students, get them involved in a “crazy cultural US phenomenon”, and be a great way to let the team know we are supporting them all the way over here. We have received nothing but positive reactions from thousands of people. I have received tons of emails and thanks for doing it. We haven’t gotten any grief for it, other than from the otherwise ticked off Duck fan.

TWER: How are you going to watch the national championship? We just posted a story about a Peace Corps volunteer the Philippines who scored an early morning invite from a U.S. Ambassador. Doing anything like that? Showing it on a jumbotron at the school?

One of my friends is hosting a party at an English cafe / bar. The game will be on here at 10:30 Wednesday morning. So, we will all gather there. However, love the jumbotron idea in the school gym. I might be the only one there, but it would be cool!

TWER: Describe a typical Friday night when you were down here, let’s say your senior year — where would you go, what would you eat?

A typical Friday night at AU my senior year consisted of sorority dances, double dates with friends to Atlanta, eating Mexican with my professors: Mike Watkins and Kelly Jolley, and or pizza from Mellow Mushroom (or burgers from Chee Burger Chee Burger), beer, and theology with my best friends / roommates Dan Fletcher and Jake Vargo (now both doctors in Memphis).

TWER: Have you shown any of the kids clips of Cam? Have any of them gotten into Auburn football off-camera?

Absolutely! I use them as tools all the time! They love it! They can’t figure out why Americans love such a violent game. I had to remind them about rugby, soccer (cleat kicks to the shins), hockey, kick boxing (popular here in Asia). They got the picture. But, they love the clips.

TWER: Who was your favorite Auburn philosophy professor? What would Kant think of Cam Newton?

Mike Watkins and Kelly Jolley run a tight race for favorite. Mike introduced me to philosophy and Kelly was an amazing teacher. Kant would definitely say, “Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.”

TWER: What’s it been like watching Auburn’s miracle season so far from the action? Think it’s been easier to process? Harder? More surreal that it would be back in the states? Less?

It has been nail-biting to hear clips and read highlights. I have only been able to see a handful of the games since they have to be broadcast on a major TV affiliates to get it streamed on the internet. It doesn’t seem real. But, I have loved every minute of all the information I can get. It sucks that this is the year they are going to the BCS and it is in AZ. I could have gone to the game if we still lived there.

* And a little help from TWER: Chris and Co. confirmed that we were the first website to post the video. And frankly it feels fantastic – this is the kind of story that demands an unrepentant sense of ownership. And now we don’t have to feel guilty.

Keep Reading:

* The Secret History of Pat Dye Field
* Erin Andrews at Toomer’s Corner
* In the time of “Got 13″ she was a Tiger
* Was Walt Disney an Auburn fan?
* AU fan possibly contributed to Courtney Love’s teenage delinquency
* Player on 1972 ‘Amazin’s’ squad battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease
* Auburn alumna tops TheHill.com’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list
* Young Bartley meets David Housel for breakfast
Montgomery Business that de-toilet papers Toomer’s busier than ever
Under Armour congratulates Cam Newton with full-page ad
Auburn’s Miss Universe contestant, Audrey Moore
* Auburn amputee has tiger-striped prosthetic legs
* Harry Connick Jr. — Auburn Man?

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About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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