I was looking through some of my high school stuff the other day and saw something that disturbed me. It was the Christmas version of our school newspaper, the "Jacket Racket". In the dedication section there was a post from me. "Merry Christmas all you Sugar-less Auburn fans." WTF you say? Let me explain.
November 1985, found me a Senior in High School. And an Alabama Fan. It's true, I won't deny it. I grew up surrounded by Bama fans. My Grandfather, my Father, and most of all of my relatives were Alabama fans. Only my Aunt and Uncle (and their kids) were Auburn fans. My cousin Paul was a Freshman going to Auburn University that year. Alabama was coming into the Iron Bowl that year at 7-2-1 and Auburn was 8-2 and #7 in the land. Bo Jackson was tearing up the field for Auburn and would eventually win the Heisman Trophy that year. I was in the middle of trying to determine the college I would attend (My preferences were MIT, GA Tech, and then somewhere in state), and my cousin had a spare student ticket for the Iron Bowl that year.
What a game that was! Back and forth the score went until the final seconds Van Tiffen kicked the game winner into the Auburn Student section to give Alabama the win 25-23. I thought that I would get killed that day as I yelled and screamed and then realized that I was in the wrong student section. Fortunately I lived.
I went on to post my hateful message, thinking nothing of it. I wasn't planning on going to school there or anything...
Then life happened. MIT didn't want me. Georgia Tech would take me, but it was way too expensive being out of state. The big U recruited me, but it too was out of state and although I love Miami (the city not the University) I just couldn't afford to go. Troy State (then, now just Troy University) offered me a full boat, but me being a pretentious prick couldn't see going there at all. That left Alabama or Auburn. Easy decision right?
I went to Tuscaloosa for a weekend retreat for potential freshmen. It was a lot of fun with the people who were there with me. But the campus as a whole seemed alien and hostile. In fact, more than once I was treated poorly and that really left me feeling like I didn't belong. I was told, quite frankly, that if I wasn't part of the Greek system then I shouldn't bother attending. Hell for that kind of money, I could have went to Miami.
Auburn at least had a strong Engineering program. I held down my bile and went for a similar weekend visit.
And found a home.
For those that have experienced Auburn, you understand what I mean without having to explain it. For those that haven't, its like being surrounded by your family. It's comfortable and comforting. It's like finding the woman that you intend to spend the rest of your life with. It's like holding your new born child. It's like gorging on Thanksgiving turkey and fading to sleep while the game plays in the background.
The people I met that weekend made me feel so at home that I made my decision to go to school there that weekend. I've never regretted that decision.
Now with 3 children, I try to carry them to at least one game a year (depending on finances). They all would love to go to school there, but they won't because its now out of state for me. Regardless, they'll always call Auburn home as well.
And since then i"ve been all Auburn all the time. Tonight during the SEC championship game I had a moment of redemption. Auburn kicked ass and is heading to the National Championship game.
So i just have to say. Merry Christmas all you sugarless Auburn Fans. Beat Oregon!
I have to admit, i can't stop crying. War Dam... er Cam.. Eagle...