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One of Life’s Teachable Moments… a taste of humility.

By on January 8th, 2013 in Member Post 42 Comments »

Over the past several weeks leading up to last night’s game I have seen countless Auburn fans rooting for Notre Dame. My take has been… why would I pull for anyone over the SEC? My observation was by taking the high road you remain at least a classy fan, regardless of your school.

I flashed back to 2010 and recalled the countless bama fans that were sporting Oregon Duck gear the week prior too and on the evening of the game. Some in my own family. I recall the anger I felt towards them. Why couldn’t they be happy for our moment in the sun?  As far as  I am concerned… there is no excuse for this kind of behavior.

Flash back to last night…

As the two teams took to the field last night, I was telling my wife at the dinner table that bama was just too strong and that Notre Dame didn’t stand a chance. I thought bama would win by 28 or 35 points simply because they were a balanced attack offense and their defense was much better than Notre Dame’s. Almost instantly my son, the oldest at eleven, began coming to Notre Dame’s defense.  “No Dad. You are wrong.”  My response was that we would know in the first quarter. But I warned my Son, “we don’t pull for the other team just because ours didn’t do well.”

Sure enough bama’s team didn’t disappoint. They quickly rolled off two touch downs… and it appeared early on that it was going to be a rout.  If you remember, bama got some pretty controversial calls early on.  At which point my son began weeping. He exclaimed that ESPN loved bama. And that they would do anything to help bama win. That is when I asked him… after all that we talked about… why would he make an accusation like that? He proceeded to tell me at the ripe age of eleven that I just didn’t understand.

Perplexed I asked patiently what was it that I didn’t understand? He said, “Dad, I have to listen to those “fans” tomorrow at school.” I began to laugh but he began to cry. He explained that they would be incessant about how bama was the better school and overall team.  I calmly looked my son in the face and said… “well this year Son, that is true.” When he argued for Auburn’s sake… in exasperation thinking his Dad had surely lost his mind… I said “who won the game this year between AU and bama?” That’s when the truth came out… “Dad, it isn’t fair.”  And I calmly put my arm around him and looked him in the eye and said… “No son, it isn’t. Sometimes life isn’t fair. But when this kind of thing happens and it will, just remember God is teaching you an important life lesson.  It’s called humility.”

Thinking that he had just been hoodwinked he looked back at me and said… “Dad, how can you be so calm about it… you just don’t understand what it’s like.”  I calmly looked back at him and began to laugh… and said “1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, & 1992.”  He obviously didn’t understand and looked back at me and said… “Dad, what are you talking about?” Again, I looked back at him and said… “You just said I didn’t understand and I replied with these dates. Do you know what they are for?” He said “no”… and I said “these are dates bama won National Titles when I was growing up. And all I heard for weeks after they won the championship that the only bowl Auburn was going to was the “toilet bowl”. I went on to explain to my son that the rage and anger I felt was every bit as real as his… but in the end, it got me nowhere. I said to him… “That is why I urged you to let yours go.”

When he continued to lament, I explained to him how lucky he was… he got to see Auburn win a National Title as a child. When I was a kid and a young fan I had to take mine on faith.

His response was typical. He came to the realization pretty quickly. He looked at me and said… “Well, I guess the saying is true… we are bama’s little brother.”  Again, I had to laugh.  I looked at him and said… “that depends on how you look at it I suppose. But until Auburn win’s sixteen National Championships… I guess we will have to acknowledge bama’s history has more championships. That’s all.” My son was beside himself. “Dad, what are you saying?”

Again, I looked at my son and said… “Is that why you are an Auburn fan? Because of 2010? Because if it is… you picked your team for the wrong reason.”  My son looked back at me teary eyed and said… “no Dad, I love Auburn because you loved Auburn.” I smiled.  And I replied… “it’s the same for you and me.”  But I said, “I learned to love Auburn for my own reasons as I grew up and later went to school there. Maybe you will too.”

I explained to him that being an Auburn fan and alumni isn’t for the weak at heart. The love for Auburn goes far beyond the exploits at Jordan Hare.  He smiled. “I guess so.” And then I looked at him with a big grin on my face and said “you can always change sides if winning is going to be your thing.” He looked back at me and declared with an expression of commitment “never!”

That’s my boy!

Writer’s note: I want to take the opportunity to congratulate bama on a championship season. I honestly can’t stand your school… but I can’t argue with the results. No matter what, your team was the best in college football this year.

“There’s aways next year!”

War Eagle!

WDE 1988

42 Comments

  1. beezybub beezybub says:

    Great Read…. My stepson of 9 is an Alabama fan and My 2 little girls are Auburn fans… My Youngest (3 yrs) loves Auburn Gear… She occasionally says Roll Tide b/c of Family Members trying to convert her at such a young age.. but I get back on the right path, And she start saying “War Eagle” again. But, I won’t her to choose for herself… No Matter what she chooses, I’ll still love her.. But I can almost bet you.. She’ll be an An Auburn Tiger through it all.

    Your son is a true Auburn Fan already.. Hats off to him. War Eagle.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Thank you. Life’s funny. I know I didn’t start out that way as a Dad. Everyone says “my money is only going to Auburn”… but at the end of the day… I want my children to be happy. Ultimately, everyone must make their choice. He’s made his… and I am very proud.

      Sounds like you got a little tiger on your hands as well. Best of luck!

      WDE

    • sauce080 says:

      In the end, it all comes down to where you find your meaning and joy in life. If it’s dependent on any teams winning and losing, life could be quite hard.

  2. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Outstanding article,

    This piece teaches us all a lot about the history of the rivalry and what it means to truly love Auburn.
    I really enjoyed the read.

    War Eagle to little WDE!

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      War Eagle to you too ATM and I will pass along the sentiment when I get home from work. Funny, after he revealed his feelings on the matter I am not sure if I helped or hurt him in my rationale.

      But like I explained to him it’s human nature to want things to be fair. But sometimes they just aren’t. Still, when it does happen, it just makes the event more special. We appreciate it more… (at least that is my story and I am sticking to it :) )

      WDE

  3. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    Yes, most of us truly love Auburn for Auburn and not just football and winning. It’s really hard for a lot of bammer fans to understand that. Thanks for the remembrance! I think I’ll share!

  4. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    Good story and good lesson…. I told my son that it didn’t matter how it turned out…. Either way AU couldn’t lose so we could remain neutral kinda like Switzerland because Bama’s success or failure didn’t define AU. I would have liked to see a good game though.

  5. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    One point of contention…. We only have to win 9 more to surpass the turds.

  6. DBAU81 says:

    Thanks for this article, WDE. It reminded me of my own years attending grade school in, of all places, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and being regarded by my classmates as something akin to an alien from another universe. Tell your son that the tough times he is experiencing now will only make the good times better when they return — and they will!

    War Eagle!

  7. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    Excellent article. Remind your son that better times for Auburn are just around the corner.

  8. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    It takes true, sincere commitment to be an Auburn fan. You can’t be accused of being fair weather because all of the natural forces of college football seem to be in opposition to the Tigers at all times (most painfully in 2004). One of the great things I have learned through the Auburn family is perspective. While I still utterly wish for the college football dominance of AU and decimation of UAT, I have come at last to the point in my life where my day/week/year/life doesn’t get ruined by relatively unimportant events outside of my control, Auburn helped me grow up in this fashion. I still get as wound up as anyone during a game, I still get as much news as I can, but I see (at least I hope I see) where the line of sanity is and I don’t cross it. War Eagle 2013!

  9. Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

    Great article! It was a historic beat down and I doubt if Notre Dame will ever consider moving to the SEC. It will be a Bama “Love Fest” this year and I am fortunate that I live in Atlanta where they seldom talk about the football teams in Alabama.

    I too love Auburn because I chose to go there after attending a fraternity party. I never thought that I would attend Auburn because I grew up an Alabama fan. Ina way, Auburn was my savior because I had just graduated from Junior College and I honestly had no idea where I was headed. I met some great people at Auburn who steered me in the right direction. I only have good memories of my time spent in Auburn.

    I wish you all well in 2013 and I do feel that Auburn is on the verge of putting together another great football team.

    War Eagle Forever!

  10. AubieCE AubieCE says:

    I lived through those Bryant Bama teams of the ’60s and 70’s at about his age, so I feel his pain.
    You did an excellent job of explaining what it means to be an AU supporter.
    My dad instilled my love for AU at an early age, and it stuck for me, my brothers, sisters,and now
    his grandchildren.
    This will be your legacy.

  11. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Great article. I have had to live under the shadow of the other tigers for so long that I can see why it would seem logical to pull for “the other team” in games like the one last night. It is, however, a way to learn one of the greatest of God’s virtues, i.e., humility. Tell your son to always remember, whether winning or losing, ” IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER”!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  12. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    Well, wde88, in some ways you’re a better man than I am. I can honestly say if the bammers were playing Satan’s devils in hell, I would be pulling for the devils!
    However, how you worked with your son was wonderful. I have often said that one of the great things about being an Auburn man living in Georgia but not too far away from Auburn is that I don’t have to engage in war 365 days a year. It’s got to be a lot more peaceful.
    But when it finally comes to judgment day, I love Auburn for what it is. I love the Auburn Creed. I love the Auburn Spirit. And in the spirit of a more recent appellation, it’s truly great and wonderful to be a part of the Auburn Family. All In! Go Big Blue. War Eagle.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      You are very kind. And I am no saint when it comes to bama. I just don’t want to be the kind of fan I despise.

      War Eagle!

  13. AuburnMisfit AuburnMisfit says:

    I have respect for Alabama and what they have accomplished. Not just yesterday or 2012, but throughout the history of college football. It makes not only Auburn better that they are here to stay, but all of the SEC. It’s part of what makes this conference special. Yes, they have their Updykes and stupid fans, but success of a program attracts the crazy fan base. Auburn is no exception to that as we have some fans of questionable reasoning skills.

    That being said, I did not cheer for a ND win yesterday or a Bama defeat. In fact, I cheered for an SEC victory and I’m happy Alabama continued the SEC reign. We had our sweet moment in 2010 and am very thankful for experiencing that because it does not happen very often for most fan bases in any sport. If you are feeling down about this season, go watch the highlights from 2010, the Iron Bowl or the 2011 BCSCG and know that everything is cyclical. We will have our time again.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      I think you are right in many ways.

      BL: AU will once again have it’s day. I don’t think that day is far away either.

      Thank you for your comments.

      WDE

  14. jiminla says:

    Good read, but with regard to pulling for the Irish, I don’t really care for either of ‘em. It’s just I cared for the UATs exponentially less than I cared for the Irish.

    The long standing UAT mentality about Auburn is what gave birth to a Harvey Updyke, who last year on Bourbon Street had his picture made with many UATs who were there for the BCS game. Why? Because he “stuck it to Auburn” by poisoning those trees. If he hadn’t been on house arrest in Louisiana this year, it would have likely been a repeat performance at South Beach. It’s that Rammer Jammer mentality that’s never satisfied with winning an athletic contest but wants to humiliate and belittle their opponent.

    It’s just been my observation over decades that anything good that happens to the UATs is bad for Auburn and vice versa. The good that happened to the UATs yesterday was not helpful for Auburn. At least that’s the way I see it down here in LA.

    WAR EAGLE ANYWAY!

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Jiminia, I agree with pretty much everything you said. And you will have to trust I am no holly roller when it comes to being a good sport. I have my moments even now at 48. However, while I could care less for either team playing the National Championship it doesn’t mean that my actions don’t reflect on me, my family, or Auburn.

      And I agree with you in the sense about the attitude that gave birth to Harvey Updyke… but just because he was able to get away with it (or so it appears) doesn’t give anyone else an excuse to do the same thing. Two wrongs don’t make it right. Or at least that is my opinion.

      It’s sad when you think about it… the guy that was convicted as a sexual predator last BCS championship when he molested the drunk LSU fan got swifter punishment than Harvey has over the Toomers trees.

      Regardless, I don’t make excuses for these nut jobs. They are what they are… nuts. And unfortunately, anyone supporting a nut… well, that makes them nuts too.

      But you did speak to something near and dear to my heart. Personally – I love LA (Lower Alabama). It’s about as close as you can get to God’s country. But as I have aged, I like North Alabama now about as much. The woods and mountains grew quickly on me.

      Nice talking to you!

      WDE

  15. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    wde1988 – how classy is it that you answered every comment. I think that’s great!

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      You guys were nice enough to read it. Least I could do.

      I showed the article to my son tonight. He got a kick out of it. He came up and hugged my neck and said “thank’s dad.”

      Another life lesson: I wanted my son to know that writing can be theraputic. Obviously, I certainly am not Stephen King… but I can settle with being someone who people understand and communicate with (both good and bad).

      That is what I love about this website.

      Thanks for the comment again Wpleagle.

      WDE

  16. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Fantastic post! If nothing else, I think it’s important to teach your kids to win, or lose with dignity. And this certainly goes for the Iron Bowl and all related hoopla. Great lesson! “Why do we fall, Bruce?”

    …..I missed the game, working in place of several Bama folk who wanted to be off to see the game. Saw the Sportscenter version this morning after my shift. Can’t say I’m terribly surprised at the result. I always say that I can’t lose, when Bama plays someone out of conference!

    …..That said, New Year’s Morning I was kind of worried about a losing SEC bowl record this year, after LSU’s throwaway. Georgia had been good at losing bowl games they should win the past two years, South Carolina had won only one of their last four bowls, and MSU was quite obviously on a serious slide down the stretch this year. Didn’t have a clue how the Aggies or Ole Miss would stack up. TAMU usually got drilled by the Sooners in Big-12 play. So I was beginning to believe we’d really need Bama to play well to make the SEC look good.

    …..As it turned out, the SEC went 6-3, and would have won in Atlanta with your average 10 year old on the X-box calling plays.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Thanks Acid.

      The only dissappointment from the aspect of “let downs” like you was LSU and Florida. LSU was silly. Florida’s was criminal. I can’t believe they underwhelmed their game the way they did.

      MSU… well, I wasn’t surprised at all. I am just glad it wasn’t AU losing to Northwestern. Thanks Gene and Gus and Ted!

      ND never really did anything offensively until dang near the end of the game. By that time… it was out of reach and firmly in the books. Thier defense was off balanced the entire game. bama was able to move the ball at will. Total domination. Honestly, unless you were a bama fan, it wasn’t a very entertaining game.

      WDE

  17. WDErichie WDErichie says:

    I remember watching us get beat by Georgia, knowing I had already bought my Iron Bowl tickets. Thirteen hour drive with dad and brother(both Bama Fans) each way. Really was not happy with the game when my four year old daughter Aubreah noticed I was upset. She looked at me and said its ok dad “Its still good to be an Aubreah Tiger!!!” Her saying that made me realize no matter what happened this season Its always Great to be an Auburn Tiger!!!!!!!

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Brother, I know that feeling. It stinks.

      But aren’t you glad for your little one? She totally puts things in the proper light without even knowing she did it. You can’t beat that with a stick. Makes you feel silly in a way… but still, you are so grateful for them. What a blessing!

      WDE

  18. audude audude says:

    Great to see the Auburn Sprirt is alive outside of JH. My children, 15, 13 & 11 all asked who I was pulling for know I have a viceral dislike for ND and UAT. Without hesitation I said ‘Bama.I want the SEC to be the dominant conference. I want Auburn to beat the best when we beat Alabama.

    That and ND, through no fault of there own, could not control the level of there competion this year. When the contracts were signed years ago many of these games actually looked competitive: Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Miami, BC, USC.The only games that really helped them prepare were Stanford and Oklahoma along with maybe Michigan and BYU.

    Nothing like the SEC period (see Brian Kelly’s comments).

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      For the past seven years it’s been nothing less. And for the past four years the State of Alabama has owned the crystal ball.

      I don’t think that has ever been done.

      WDE

  19. sparkey sparkey says:

    To hell with humility and screw Alabama. Sorry, what else do you expect me to say?

    Haha, however this was very well written and I enjoyed reading it honestly. Still, I ain’t humble and screw Alabama :-P

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      LOL.

      Thank you. And I am not far from where you are Sparkey. Its hard to argue their success. But it doesn’t mean I like them…

      In fact, I can’t wait to beat them again. But first, we have to atleast be competitive. I pray that happens quickly with the Gus bus… if not, well, it’s back to the drawing board. Just call us…. Wiley C. Coyote. :)

      Whatever it takes!

      WDE

  20. KevinATL KevinATL says:

    WDE1988, I have to thank you for this article. It was more than just a good read, it actually made me tear up. This is NOT something that normally happens, especially on a sports blog. It was very well written. It was particularly meaningful right after Bama’s win. I have had some tough feelings towards AU this year, from the pitiful season, to the ( in my opinion, idiots) that run the athletic department, to the new rumors of NCAA allegations. I had a moment, brief, but a moment no less, where I debated why I pull for Auburn.
    Lets be honest, it is fun to win. And right now, Bama is the best. Period. Best team, best program, best coach. I guess a part of me, being from Alabama, wants to enjoy the fun and pride that the (seemingly) rest of the state is enjoying. I have to admit to being jealous. I had always been a hate bama at all cost guy. Not this year, I actually pulled for them against N.D. They deserve all the press and praise, they are amazing, despite the fact they have some of the most annoying fans. I have given up hating my enemy. I have tried to give up hating anything period.
    Lastly, the reason I cried reading your well article is, when I examine it, I love Auburn for the same reason your son does. As he said, he loved Auburn because his father loved it first. My father did not go to college there, or anywhere. I was the first generation to be given the gift of a college degree. My father taught me to love Auburn, and he and I share a bond that cannot be broken, large part focused on our love for the school and the game. I am VERY different from my parents politically, religiously, and socially. I am single, and live in a big city, very different from my conservative rural parents that have been married 28 years. But it never fails, no matter what, we can always discuss Auburn. And I thank God for that. And I thank God for Auburn, and love it.
    Thank you, seriously, for your article. It meant a lot to me.