By Logan Barrett
Warning: This is article is written by an unapologetic Auburn fan so expect some Bama bashing throughout
One thing everyone in Alabama can agree on is that there is nothing better than college football gameday. Nothing. Probably the only thing some Alabama and Auburn fans agree on is that they love football. Now I know there are people in the state that don’t like football, but they don’t have to read this so let’s talk about football.
The environments in Tuscaloosa and Auburn on gamedays are different from each other, but each is great in its own way. Auburn is focused on that family aspect that they pride themselves on, and, as an Auburn student from a family of Auburn alumni, I can definitely say that the Auburn Family is real. If the fans are the brothers and sisters of the family, students are the distant cousins that live five states away. Students are not treated the same as other fans, plain and simple. Our ticket policy seems to get more complex year after year. This past year, students couldn’t give other students their Ignited Card, which is what we use to get into athletic events. Instead we had to use an online process to buy them from someone else and transfer their ticket electronically to our Ignited Card. There was also a processing fee to do this. The year before this change, students could give their Ignited Card to anyone they wanted and that person could use it to get into the student section without question. Unfortunately, the process has grown increasingly more complicated.
I’m not going to go into more detail about student ticket policies. Just know that Auburn students take ticket policies very seriously, so seriously in fact that the subject appears at the center of Student Government Association elections every year. Despite the annoying bureaucracy of tickets, gameday in Auburn is a fantastic thing. People from all around the country will come to see Auburn, and when they win, which is often, fans gather around Toomer’s Corner for the most cherished college football tradition in human history: rolling the oaks.
I remember my first Auburn game was Auburn vs. Georgia in 2004. I had just moved to Alabama from Georgia in April of that year, and my mom decided it was time for me to experience Auburn and stop being an annoying Georgia fan. We went to the game and got our seats up in the nosebleeds, and I still remember seeing the eagle fly for the first time. My uncle had gone with us and handed me some binoculars, and when I saw the eagle leave its cage, I jumped in fear because everyone started yelling. I had no idea what was going on, and I looked at them like they were crazy. The stadium grew louder and louder, and when the eagle reached the fifty yard line a powerful thought hit me: Georgia is going to lose the game.
I was right. Georgia was given a humiliating defeat. Auburn went on to have an undefeated season under Tommy Tuberville’s leadership, but the day wasn’t over for me. Little seven-year-old me was dragged what seemed like miles to Toomer’s Corner where I was surrounded by too many people to feel comfortable. It was then that a stranger handed me some toilet paper. My mom told me to go throw it in the tree. I said that it was littering and that Clark, my mom’s best friend who was a cop, would not be happy about it. She convinced me to do it, and when I threw that toilet paper, it felt like an Auburn baptism. It was right then that I was inducted into the Auburn Family.
Now that I attend Auburn, things are a bit different. Instead of sitting around fans that are happy to be there, I am surrounded by students who yell at the mic man and referees the whole time. I do my fair share of yelling at referees, but in recent seasons I've lost my voice too quickly and had to watch quietly for the remaining three quarters. Also, fans treat students differently than other fans. They tend to ignore you and try to not make eye contact. It’s almost as if they are just fans of the athletic teams and not of the school. Yes Auburn is great at many sports and has more Heisman’s than Alabama, but we’re smarter than them too. Auburn has top notch engineering, education, nursing, science, and mathematics programs. Our communications schools have received countless awards, and we have extremely notable alumni, some of which include Apple CEO Tim Cook and Oscar Winner Octavia Spencer. Still, it seems most fans only care about football. Don’t get me wrong, football is amazing, but students are at Auburn every day, not just gamedays. We have to pay to be there, so I wish students would remember that without the school, there wouldn’t be a football team.
Even though the experience of Auburn gamedays changes when you become a student, it’s still amazing and is likely better than Alabama. Being surrounded by your friends, who have become your pseudo-family in college, yelling at referees, cheering along with mic man, watching the eagle fly, standing in front of the world’s biggest college football screen, and being with the nine-time national champion mascot is one of the greatest experiences in life. I will gladly lose my voice every Saturday for it. Sure the ticket policy can be annoying, but none of that matters once you’re watching the game. All that matters is Auburn winning and Alabama losing... unless Alabama's playing Tennessee; no one likes Tennessee.
About the Author: Logan is an intern at Reid Law Firm a rising senior at Auburn University majoring in Public Relations with minors in Business and Political Science. Logan may be reached at email@example.com.
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