If only I could remember my very first experience on the gameday plains of Auburn, Alabama; to be able to recall what it was like to see the tiger walk from my father's shoulders, or the flight of the eagle as my mother held me on her hip. My Auburn experience began long before I was able to walk, or talk for that matter. I am sure it could very easily be compared to my 3 year old niece, Ava's, first time to see Ariel at Disney World. Magical. Nonetheless, my memory of my first experiences on the plains began when I was in grade school. Those memories are filled with a group of childhood friends that came together at every home football game, because our parents' were all best friends. The grassy lawns of Auburn University's campus were our stompin' grounds every Saturday in the fall that the Tigers hosted an opposing team. Those Saturdays were filled with rituals like walking to the Haley Center multiple times a day to stock up on gameday shirts, face tattoos and any other orange and blue paraphernalia that we could get our hands on, riding the Lowder elevator all the way to the top floor, multiple times, to get a skyline view of all the gameday festivities, the Tiger Walk, and flag football on the Cary Hall lawn: the best tailgate spot around. We had the same seats every year, and at every home game, my best friend and I would sit in our seats with our Auburn University notepads, anxiously awaiting kickoff so that we could record every detail of the game into our notebooks that we bought at the Haley Center earlier that day. We stood surrounded by a sea of burnt orange and navy blue, just the two of us; such a small part of what we refer to as the Auburn family, but we felt larger than life. I had never been so proud to be a part of something. Little did I know that I had hardly scratched the surface of what it would feel like to be a part of the Auburn family...
My experiences on the gameday plains continued on throughout high school. I had made new friends, and one by one, I would introduce them to my Auburn experience and all the people that had been a part of it for so many years. It was something that I was proud of; my team and my gameday stompin' grounds. I would walk them through the crowded plains, show them the Auburn spirit on the faces of my fellow fans and teach them my gameday rituals. Some of them were fellow Auburn fans that had never had the gameday experience, and some were even Alabama fans. They always left in one of two ways; with a deeper appreciation for a team they already loved, or as a BAMA fan with orange and blue hair and an Auburn sweatshirt...it never failed, and I can even count for at least two people who never wore another BAMA t-shirt in their lives. True story.
I always knew that attending Auburn University was in my future, so when the time came to graduate high school, I wasted no time making my way there. I may not be able to remember my very first Auburn gameday experience, but forever etched in my memory is the day that The Loveliest Village on the Plains became more to me than just the place where I spent most of my Saturdays of Fall; it became my home. After a horrific parking experience that ended in stress-related tears and me giving a fellow Auburn student "the bird", I made my way to my very first class in none other than the Haley Center. I cannot put into words what it felt like to walk into that building as a student. In an instant, I went from loving Auburn to being Auburn. I got the same feeling when I walked into my first class at Cary Hall, another place that I knew well as a child. In the years that I spent at college, all that is Auburn became an important part of who I am. The times that I had there, and the friends that I made there are precious. I am a part of the Auburn family, the family that all those who share my love are also a part of. For me, that family also has a core that is made up of the people that shared in my Auburn experience and made it one to remember. Those memories live in the deepest part of my soul, and my soul shines in a different light now. When I stand amidst the sea of what is now mostly all orange in Jordan Hare Stadium, and the eagle takes its flight, I almost always shed a tear. I acquire a huge lump in my throat, and it usually doesn't subside until after the first snap. This rush of emotion is not about a football game, or whether or not we win or lose. It is about my Auburn experience and it's evolution. Standing in that stadium, I cannot help but to be overcome with emotion. It takes me back to tag football on the Cary Hall lawn and sunrises on the porch with friends that I now consider to be my family. There is nothing petty about that.
That experience will live on tonight as I watch the Tigers play the Bulldogs along with my parents and their friends, which possibly is what inspired this blog, as they are the ones who passed down their Auburn experience to me. I am forever grateful for that. Let the games begin...
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I know. I know. I haven't blogged in way too long. In fact, I'm having blogging withdrawals. This may sound crazy, but I feel like I have SO many thoughts lately that it's hard to concentrate. I've recently started back in school, and I have to commute to Panama City three days a week and I LOVE IT. The commute that is... Alone in my car, riding with my thoughts and my music. It's therapeutic, and it's one of my favorite things to do. I've probably written 10 blogs in the last 2 weeks...in my head. Unfortunately, it's frowned upon to blog and drive or else I could have shared them all. Seriously, I really think that I have the skills to be able to do it. I am an avid texter, and it's not because I'm a wannabe "tween". It's because I despise actual phone conversations. Of course, now that I live 5 hours away from a lot of my favorite people, phone conversations are kind of a key factor to my correspondence. Anyways, my completely irrelevant point is that I am completely capable of blogging and driving, but for the sake of the judgemental society in which we live in -lol- and for the sake of the very small percentage of a chance that I could possibly cause an accident...I don't do it. Therefore, leaving my followers "The few, the proud", with nothing to read. However, this may be a blessing in disguise, because I'm not sure if the world is ready for the things that go through my mind when I'm alone in my car...no joke. I think I'll keep that thought process to myself for now. New blog to come soon though! There is something that I have been dying to blog about, but haven't found the time lately. Something along the lines of, "If you want to make a complete ass of yourself via facebook, go RIGHT ahead...it's your ass, not mine. But, do not 'vague-book' (urbandictionary.com) about me, because even though it makes me laugh and gives me something to make jokes out of, I do not like being associated with teenage drama. Thanks for the laugh though. Really."
I'll be seeing y'all again soon.
I'll be seeing y'all again soon.