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Joy. From the Desk of Pops of ToTM

By on December 1st, 2013 in Member Post 12 Comments »

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!

12 Comments

  1. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    I hear you. I was able to stay strong for the first three quarters. But I have to admit, I faltered some late in the fourth quarter.

  2. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Thanks for your perspective! I too know the days of long-suffering, where the radio and the newspaper were the lifeline to Auburn football. I went to school at Auburn during the Barfield Era. I’m there with this team regardless. I sat through every play in the stadium against Texas A&M in 2012. I’ve live-blogged till the bitter end on blow-out losses to Alabama in 2008, 2011 and 2012. We do know the ashen taste of defeat.

    …..To quote from one of my favorite super-hero movies, “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

    ……That’s why the past two football Saturdays have been so glorious! Somehow this team stared down defeat, and overcame! Strangely, when Nick Saban successfully politicked for one second to be put back on the clock, it never really hit me that Alabama might well win the game on that field goal try. The moment was just another speed bump on the way to overtime. I think I was reaching for another handful of Chex mix when the play started.

    …..As to your comments on Coach Malzhan, I’ve always felt that leadership is NOT about imposing your will on your charges. The real secret to it is to enable folks to share your enthusiasm and thus bring their own passion to the endeavor. That has happened everywhere Gus has been. Finally this year as a head coach, there’s no overly-cautious upper-management around to temper and sour things.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      We totally were ready for it to go to overtime. And I was pumped. My heart did sink a little when the field goal unit came on…I mean, what were the odds of them finally getting one after all of the misses?? And when he kicked it, I held my breathe for a minute, until a realized that it was dead on–but short……then IT happened and, well, I’m still shaking my head this morning…..

      I was home early last week for something, and I was listening to some college football show. It is clear to me that Malzahn has had a coaching plan for every level that he has coached at. It was the comparison of Will Muschamp, Gene Chizik (evident in his interview) to some of the more successful newbie coaches like Hugh Freeze, certainly Gus, but there seems to be those without a plan and those with a plan…..the Plan doesn’t have to be a Process, as much as, it must be teachable, strong and resonates with the student athletes…..We are incredibly fortunate that the Powers didn’t get stars (Gruden-goggles) when looking for our head coach last year. We’ve got an incredibly one!!!

    • challenger10 says:

      what happened to the much anticipated Acid Reign report

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..I am back from the chiropractor, and working on it now. Four 16 hour shifts last week were rough. I had one of those shifts Sunday, and didn’t have time to re-watch and do an adequate job Saturday night.

        • AUglenn says:

          Sorry to hear about your back problems but glad to hear we are not going to be deprived of your excellent analysis. Hope you feel better soon and thanks for all you do for us. Acid … Rocks!

        • challenger10 says:

          hope the back is feeling better Acid. When the report wasn’t posted as usual I was worried something had happened.

      • Eagle1 says:

        Acid, sorry to hear about your problem and hope you get better soon. I look forward to your report each week. Thanks for everything that you do for this site. Hang on folks, this bus ride is not over yet!
        WAR EAGLE!

        • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

          …..Thanks for the well-wishes! The traction machine has done its work, and I feel pretty good, now. I think most of my issue this week was stress and fatigue. I frequently short myself on sleep, but I think getting by on 4 or 5 hours a night for 6 straight days was too much.

          ……And after a busy week, I’m on vacation! I was pretty ticked off to be assigned this week instead of Thanksgiving, this year. Who knew I’d get a chance to go to Atlanta to watch the Tigers play? Still working that out, though.

  3. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Enjoyed the post Pops of TotM.

    I agree with your take on Coach Malzhan and Like Acid above I too have, “Always felt that leadership is NOT about imposing your will on your charges. The real secret to it is to enable folks to share your enthusiasm and thus bring their own passion to the endeavor. That has happened everywhere Gus has been.”

    I too was at the ’89 game and now my grown sons who (like TotM) have not had the oppty to attend Auburn are huge dyed in the wool Orange and Blue Auburn fans. And just like you and TotM one of my sons was in the stadium sharing Sat’s win with me. So I know the joy of three generations sharing a great Auburn moment together. On a personal level, that definitely makes it even more special.

    Very much enjoyed your story and thanks for allowing TotM to share it with us. War Eagle Pops!

  4. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    First let me say this: We absolutely love your daughter! She is bright, and witty, and a joy to engage in conversation.

    Secondly, I full well understand your “long suffering”. Without debate, Auburn has had that penchant for rising up head and shoulders above the college football world, only to slink back down as quickly as it stood up. The Gus Bus may be that saving grace that gives us some much needed consistency, that hopefully we can achieve greatness with.

    The closest thing to consistency we have experienced was with Tommy Tubervile. His coaching tenure was certainly no smooth ride. Lots of ups and downs.

    Enjoyed the read,
    WAR EAGLE!