Many of you may not be an Auburn fan of “long suffering”, but I am one. I was an Auburn Man from birth, an uncle and cousin attended, and inculcated me in Orange and Blue, there was never a doubt and it was 36 miles south of my home in rural Alabama.
As a youth, my uncle and his wife would host Auburn-Georgia game visits to the Plains. His wife’s family were UGA fans, back when being a UGA fan meant not acting like a neo-bammer. We would tailgate, attend the game, and it seemed little to matter who won or lost in the sense that for a youngster, it was an adventure, one that usually ended on the field with autographs of players and perhaps a new Auburn decal.
I became a radio fan of Gary Sanders and have always felt that he set the standard in college football broadcasting, one continued by Jim Fyfe and now Rod Bramblett and Stan White. Although, I must say the IMG clamp on broadcasts is a bit unnerving.
During my high-school years I suffered the period of the Bear and Alabama dominance. In my junior year at Auburn, with Pat Sullivan at the helm, I felt confident that I would leave Legion Field with Auburn victorious, but that was not to be with Johnny Musso, running wild – and Auburn lost.
Then came a most glorious moment in time, when a struggling Auburn team morphed into giant killers with two blocked punts and scores. Auburn was on the Quarter System at the time, and I had several classes with David Langner, and his sister was a friend, but by the next Quarter, it was back to business (school) as usual.
I was fortunate to be able to take ToTM and her sister to the first meeting of Auburn and Alabama in Auburn, and it was quite the joyful moment. We celebrated many return victories and preserved losses.
In 2010, I found myself with ToTM and her family in the Great Plains, I took their dog for another walk as Auburn seemed to fade and fade and well you know, then once while in the basement obtaining an adult beverage, I hear loud cheering, wonderful things happened, so I was sequestered to the basement until near the end of the game….ToTM’s sister and I attended the NCCG.
Then, 2011 and 2012 happened and I was back to being a “long suffering Auburn fan”, both of these games watched in the Great Plains with ToTM and family. With the hiring of Gus, I was hopeful, but concerned, because he had such a measly pedigree (I must confess that this would seem unusual coming from someone with a not-destined-for-glory academic pedigree and achieving a highly regarded academic vita (not bragging, just comparing)), but hopeful.
Wow has Gus achieved! As a professional manger and management professor, I observe that Gus has both led and managed this group of men to great accomplishments with the assistance of the coaches he hired, led, and managed.
This brings me to Saturday, as Auburn fell to 14-7, I espoused my long suffering Auburn fan lament, “that’s it game over”, ToTM said, “Dad we are having none of that today.” ToTM is a strong woman, thankfully, so I figured I should engage in optimism, and so I did.
The reward was, without doubt, the greatest victory in my Auburn-football-fan history and it is especially sweet against Alabama. The icing on the proverbial cake was getting to witness this event with TOTM, her husband, and sons. It is great to be an Auburn Tiger!