The more that is written about Auburn, the more obvious it is that not many people understand what it’s all about. The Auburn Family isn’t something dreamt up by Gene Chizik and Trooper Taylor over drinks with Milton McGregor. Auburn is *not* on probation. We aren’t the “War Eagles.” The Auburn Oaks weren’t just special for football celebrations. Ask any average person from across the country and they wouldn’t be able to tell you about any of these things, but they could all tell you this – Auburn is dirty. Or Auburn did something wrong. Or Auburn is in trouble for this, or that. Or Cam gives my children nightmares; can’t we do something to Auburn for that?
Earlier this week while driving to work, I caught a segment on Bill King’s XM college football show discussing Auburn’s A-Day attendance and the general state of Auburn athletics. He marveled at how many fans were eager to venture out and support the football program after experiencing two disappointing seasons. King mentioned the recent Selena Roberts report as well as the recent ESPN story on the usage of spice during Auburn run to the national championship in 2010, but what struck me most by surprise was how much sympathy he had (or implied at least) for Auburn.
Our innocence or guilt was not expounded upon (he left that up to the listeners *wink *wink) and he seemed genuinely beside himself at the commitment displayed by the Auburn Family. As if we were acting in unison as some religious cult; converging on Jordan-Hare in our matching jumpsuits in preparation for a most joyous Kool-Aid tasting. The Auburn Family isn’t simply “right” or “wrong” about Auburn any longer; we’re half dedication and half delusion. Of all the mud slung Auburn’s way of late, this is the ultimate disrespect. It is one thing to be loved or hated, but to be pitied is the worst.
Auburn has conveniently gone from public enemy number one to Oliver Twist. True and false don’t exist in our reality anymore. We’re just a tainted product that happens to still have a large group of people willing to support it, or so some would lead people to believe. We’ve been an example of how not to do things, a punching bag, a scapegoat, an easy target, a honey hole, a dead horse, but we won’t be anyone’s charity case. I guarantee you that the Auburn Family didn’t attend A-Day to feel sorry for one another. The only real pity present in all of this is that Auburn has been under a microscope for nearly three full years now, and no one’s learned a single genuine thing about it.