So, my friend, Christy, who has her own blog, has been posting all week about some of her favorite Auburn things because she is going to be at the game tomorrow. Lucky. Today, she went more in detail about the pre-game festivities. I thought that it was really great. I’ll probably snitch some things (or a lot) from her blog, but I wanted to share my experiences from a purely “fan” perspective. Hubby, of course, graduated from Auburn, so he has many many experiences from which to draw. Well, I did not graduate from Auburn, and I have only been to 4 games thus far. I have been an Auburn fan for pretty much all my life. I have always cheered for them, but until I went to my first game, I didn’t know what I was missing. I have been to a couple of college football games, but it was Troy, and it was before they joined up with Div. I-A football. For me, Troy was more about the band though. Wow, do I love me some band music! If you know me at all, you know that I am a music LOVER. So, band music at a football game is really exciting to me. But, I digress…
To me, a full Auburn game experience starts the night before the game. It’s all about the excitement leading up to the game. The outfit is a MUST. Up until last weekend, I had usually just gone for comfort, and worn blue jeans/shorts and a shirt with my jersey. Last weekend (for what was the best game I’ve ever attended) I had the perfect gameday outfit. Or, what I thought was the perfect pregame outfit. I had ordered this so-adorable navy blue western-style dress from Old Navy. It hit just above my knee, and had cute western-y snaps on the front pockets. Loved this dress! I also had a nice bright orange tank top to wear up under it, so I could leave the top buttons of the dress undone. I had navy blue tights, cream fishnets to wear over the tights, a brown belt with a large silver buckle, and absolutely FABULOUS brown boots. Well, apparently, we didn’t think it was such a great thing because we left it hanging on our door at home and didn’t realize it until we got to Montgomery. So, I had to go find another gameday outfit. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still pretty good.
Another good thing about the excitement starting the night before is the great fellowship with old friends and family that you don’t get to have as often as you’d like. We are called an Auburn FAMILY for a reason. There’s nothing that can match that warmness and just bubbly happiness that is inside when you are just enjoying everyone’s company.
And now, GAMEDAY! Gameday in Auburn is truly a sight to behold. It’s being up at your tailgate site on Friday night to set up your tent, and getting up at 7 am on a Saturday to start smoking your chicken/beef/pork/etc… for enjoyment throughout the day. It’s about freezing in the morning, sweating in the heat of the day, and freezing again at night, all for the love of your team! And it’s the shakers… you HAVE to have shakers.
Our gameday started on the parking lot by the tennis courts. We hung out with some friends for a bit. I took D walking around a little, because he has never really spent time in Auburn before. We walked by the swimming pool where the swimming/diving team practices. We walked by the new Auburn Arena, by Beard-Eaves Memorial Colosseum, and down to where Tiger Walk ends. He enjoyed seeing things before it got too crowded. We walked back to our tailgate spot and just enjoyed the company and weather until time for one of my most favorite traditions: Tiger Walk.
“Before each Auburn home football game, thousands of Auburn fans line Donahue Avenue to cheer on the team as they walk from Sewell Hall (the athletes’ dormitory) to Jordan-Hare Stadium. The tradition began in the 1960s when groups of kids would walk up the street to greet the team and get autographs. During the tenure of coach Doug Barfield, the coach urged fans to come out and support the team, and thousands did. Auburn is the first known school to conduct an organized procession of players into the stadium. Today the team, led by the coaches, walks down the hill and into the stadium surrounded by fans who pat them on the back and shake their hands as they walk. The largest Tiger Walk occurred on December 2, 1989, before the first ever home football game against rival Alabama—the Iron Bowl. On that day, an estimated 20,000 fans packed the one block section of road leading to the stadium. According to former athletic director David Housel, Tiger Walk has become “the most copied tradition in all of college football.” As it grew in popularity, the Tiger Walk has become a fixture for road games. Fans will gather at visiting stadiums and cheer the team on from the buses into the stadium.”
I LOVE me some Tiger Walk. I love how you have to get up there pretty much a whole HOUR before it even starts if you want to get a good spot to take some great pictures.
This is one of the cheerleaders who begin Tiger Walk. Aubie is the one who actually starts Tiger Walk and therefore is the first one you see. I wasn’t able to get a good shot of Aubie this year though. It’s just so exciting to be thisclose to your favorite players and coaches!
Usually, after Tiger Walk, we start to make our way into the stadium and get a drink or two and then find our seats. We take our time, because we know there’s still over an hour until kick-off. Saturday was no exception. We all got our drinks/snacks and made it to our seats and there was just a little over an hour before kick-off. The stadium time is shown on the scoreboard and is set at 60 minutes. When we are exactly an hour before kick-off, the clock will start and you can feel the stadium start to come alive. Pre-game festivities start when there are 20 minutes until kick-off, but the 40 minutes prior to that just fly by. There are so many people coming and going and music is playing on the speakers… It’s just so… I can’t really even think of the right word. We usually hear “I Wanna Rock and Roll all Nite” by KISS and “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. That last one is a personal fave of mine anyway, but it’s just so cool to listen to it in the stadium. They’ll start to play it and the whole crowd will sing along. When it gets to the chorus, they mute the music, but you can hear the crowd just keep singing. It’s really awesome!
Pre-game activities usually start shortly after the Bon Jovi plays. The cheerleaders will start some cheers to get the crowd energy up, which is usually already high anyway. It doesn’t take much to get us any MORE pumped up at this point 🙂 After some cheers, the big thing that happens is watching the Eagle soar around the stadium. I really cannot do justice to the experience by talking about it. It’s one of those things that you just have to BE there to really know what I’m talking about.
After the Eagle flight, the fun begins…. Remember when I mentioned how much I LOVE band music at a football game? Well, THIS band music takes the cake. The Auburn University Marching Band is definitely one of the reasons I enjoy going to these games. When they are about to take the field, we get to watch a band pre-game video. Seriously. I’m quoting my friend Christy here, but does YOUR band have a pre-game video?
Yeah. Chill bumps.
So, after this video, the band starts to take the field, behind the leadership of its 3 drum majors. The lead drum major takes his baton and twirls it wildly and with abandon. Finally, he raises it as high as he can and then thrusts it into the ground, as if he is declaring “I OWN this.” You ought to hear the crowd at this point. It is insane! The band goes through the fight song, Glory Glory, God Bless America, and they play the National Anthem.
After the National Anthem is played, it is now time for the band to move into the AU formation and if you don’t have a shaker at this point, you are probably getting whacked in the head by all the others around you. Once the AU formation is made, they are getting ready to line up so the team can take the field.
“This place was great way before you got here. And we are not going to let our people look at us, and let them down.”
And now, as we watch our Tigers leave the locker room, a familiar song starts to play. I’m sure you know what it is…
duh… duh duh duh… duh duh duh… duh duh DUUHHH….
At this point, you can TASTE the excitement, adrenaline, and just about every other emotion that is pouring out of almost everyone in the stadium. The entire game is usually packed with that same emotion, especially the game we attended last weekend. I mean, WOW! This Arkansas game was absolutely, without a doubt, the best game I have ever experienced. I know that if I am able to attend others, I will likely have a better one, but just from what I know now… WOW.
Anyway, for me, being a big fan, this game experience is like no other. It’s been said by Kirk Herbstreit that Auburn has a unique feel, especially on gameday… His statement couldn’t be more accurate. It’s one of the many reasons I love that town. War.Eagle.