The Spiritual Significance of the 2010 National Championship

If you know me, or anything about the family that I come from, you know that Auburn University is a big part of my story. We were the quintessential family on Saturdays in the fall: alumni parents, trailed by three kids, all decked out in orange and blue, pointing out classrooms they learned in, buildings they lived in and places they formed their relationship. Yes, you could say my understanding of what Auburn is was forged on those Saturdays from 1992 to 2004 with those people who are absolutely closest to me.

Auburn football was a source of great joy and agony for me as a child. My emotions were tied to every win and loss, often retreating to my bedroom after those unfortunate games when the cosmos got it wrong and Auburn lost to bury my face in a pillow and cry like my favorite pet had just died.

It was in many of those times that have great meaning in my relationship with my father, be it shooting up into his arms after the Tigers scored or him quietly consoling my fits of anger and outrage at what I was convinced had been a conspiracy of crooked refereeing that had led to a loss. One such turning point in the maturation of my college football-laden personality came in the Georgia Dome in December of 1997, when Pops and I had just watched our Tigers turn a 17-point lead over favored Peyton Manning and Tennessee into a gut-wrenching one point loss. As the Vols celebrated, Pops asked,

“You ok?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I think I am.”

“Win, lose or tie, we’re for Auburn till we die, right bud?” Pops said, in that Joe Hastings tone which is often imitated, but never replicated.

“Right, Dad.”


It has only been in the last few years when I have really began to consider how my passion for college football, namely my Tigers, intersects my calling and faith in Jesus. For a while, I struggled with this issue, thinking that Jesus could not possibly be ok with the amount of energy and passion I put into such a trivial endeavor. Surely Christ calls me to a life of something more than worrying about the results of a bunch of college kids playing sports…

…and God does…

But at this point in my life, I can’t really help it. I’ve spent my life living and dying with Auburn on the field. As my brother said a few months ago, “Telling John Carl not to care about it is like telling the ocean not to create waves.” As I expressed these thoughts and feelings to a friend in ministry a year or two ago, I got a bit of an unexpected answer. Emily, my friend, colleague and own personal theological sounding board, reassured me that while one’s emotions shouldn’t be tied so closely to the outcome of a football game, maybe there is something that draws us to this kind of stuff; “maybe it’s something a little more holy than we realize.” Comforting words, indeed.

Over the past year, I’ve seen myself “trend Anglican” as some say. My preferences for worship have become much more liturgical, with a greater appreciation for the Christian sacraments and liturgy. This is altogether not surprising, as many Methodists who come to Duke Divinity find themselves in the same boat (pun intended). In the days of youth group and high school, I would never willingly choose to attend a high church service, much less enjoy it. Nowadays, I get all weepy during the Communion liturgy, find myself searching amazon for liturgical resources and get a little snarky when people don’t value the Sacraments enough.

At Duke, first year students are required to participate in spiritual formation groups, along with two spiritual formation retreats during the year. Yesterday, I attended “A Crash Course for Non-Anglicans in the Book of Common Prayer.” Led by Fr. Ben Sharpe, an Anglican priest from Winston-Salem, NC, we learned how to use the BCP, learned about the history and learned the meaning of many rites included. Father Ben did a great job of relating to his audience, largely comprised of Methodists, concerning the role of the BCP in the church and individual’s spirituality.

He explained how when we pray from the Book, we participate in a living liturgy that has been prayed since the First Century; when we pray, we participate and pray in community with people, both living and dead, who are citizens of the same Kingdom. Praying communally teaches us how to pray, both for others, and ourselves as we are formed by the liturgy of the Church.

On Tuesday, as I met with my spiritual formation group, we were instructed to share a way in which we were blessed over the Christmas holidays. When the term came to me, I looked down at my shirt, which read, “2010 National Champions,” apologized for the irreverence and cliché, and explained to my group and leader, Sister Joanna (a Catholic nun), about how I’ve waited for Auburn to win a national championship my entire life and how surreal it was that it was finally here. More so than that, I explained was what Auburn actually meant to me.

What I discovered about myself in that moment was that Auburn, like the Church and the community of faith, mean what they mean to me because of the people that form the image of that community in my mind. I am who I am as a Christian because of saints and sinners that have gone before me, like the apostles Paul and Peter, like Justin Martyr, like Saint Thomas Aquinas, like John Wesley, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, like Martin Luther King, Jr., like Joe Ed and Betty Hastings and Bob and Bette Schaffhausen, like my parents, like Mary Bendall and Matt Smith.

Likewise, I am an Auburn man because parents took me to games, taught me the cheers and clothed me in orange and blue. I am an Auburn man because people like Neal NeSmith stood beside me to face the horrid bammers at school on Monday after we lost the Iron Bowl. I’m an Auburn man because of all my friends at Auburn, who I will have lifelong relationships with directly because of that special place that brought us all together.

Coming to the realization that you are a part of something bigger than yourself is an intimidating and humbling moment. Knowing that you wouldn’t be who you are without certain people Divinely placed in your life is at the same time scary and beautiful.

For Auburn to win the National Championship, in the grand scheme of things, is rather trivial. Yeah, it’s great publicity for our university (and only our university – please don’t fill me with rage by suggesting this has anything to do with our state – it doesn’t). It’s great to have that kind of notoriety.

Even greater, though, is that when Wes Byrum’s kick sailed through the uprights in University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011, decades of Auburn men and women were vindicated in their long-suffering. That victory represented not only a victory for Cam Newton, Nick Fairley, Kodi Burns, Josh Bynes et al, but a victory for Shug Jordan, for David Langner, Bill Newton and the “Punt, Bama, Punt” team – for Pat Sullivan, Pat Dye, Bo Jackson, Randy Campbell, and Tracy Rocker – men who pulled Auburn out of the shadows of Bear Bryant and Alabama and laid the groundwork to make Auburn a national power. For the 1983 team, unjustly robbed of what should’ve been its own championship. For December 2, 1989, when the collective Auburn Family grabbed the pretentious other school in the state by the throat and demanded they treat us as the equals we were. For 1993, a team unblemished, but robbed by the actions of greedy individuals. For Tommy Tuberville, who got us where we are today. For Jason Campbell, Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown, Travis Williams, AT Williams, Carlos Rogers and the rest of the 2004 team, unmatched on the field, but robbed by a corrupt system. For David Housel, Jay Jacobs and James E. Foy, men that knew and understood what it meant to be Auburn men. For players like Kodi Burns, who exemplify what Auburn is in every way, selflessly put their own interests subordinate to the interests of the greater whole.

To pray ancient prayers and sing ancient hymns in the Church is to participate in the living reality that we are part of an ongoing narrative of redemption held together by Jesus Christ and His saving work of redemption in a cruel and fallen world.

Not quite the same, but similarly, to be a part of the Auburn family is to understand the words in our creed, to know that loving Auburn means loving Auburn, with football only being an added bonus. When we gather together on those eight precious fall Saturdays, we participate in our own, almost spiritual, reality, realizing that what we do in Jordan-Hare is more than football, but a participation in the history and story of Auburn University.

We grow up learning the cheers, our holy orange and blue liturgies. “Please stand for the call to worship…” beings to sound like “Alright Tiger fans, get your hands up for Bodda Getta!” Our doxology, after the holy act of breaking the plain…War Eagle. The Gloria Patri following the doxology, Glory to Ol’ Auburn. Our recessional becomes “On the rolling plains of Dixie…”

We participate in the “outward signs of an inward reality” as Aquinas said, when we partake in the sacrament of Tiger Walk, greeting and supporting those men who approach the field to represent all of us. Our offering of praise to Shug is manifested as we gather together to hurl rolls of Charmin, decorating our town in the whiteness of victory.

Perhaps all these metaphors are a bit over the top. I don’t mean to say that Auburn football is on the same plane as the work and ministry of Christ’s church. There are, as Emily pointed me to, similarities between the two, though. There comes a point when, after a touchdown or game-changing play, in the midst of high-fiving and hugging everyone within a reasonable distance, you feel you are the midst of something transcendent.

I love Auburn not because of the football, though I love them. Not because of the great instructors and classes I had there, though they were great too. I love Auburn because of the countless afternoons and nights I spent driving to and from the game next to my dad, analyzing each play, embracing after each touchdown and celebrating after each victory. I love Auburn because it is the place that introduced me to my soon-to-be wife. I love Auburn for giving me two greats years to spend around college with my sister. I love Auburn because of Glenn Elliott, Levi Rogers, Kaylor McCain, Jonathan Blocker and all my other friends who I would do anything for.

Like the Church, Auburn is who it is not because of the institution, but because of the people who comprise it.

To win the BCS National Championship was great, but even more special was that when I watched the kick that I had waited so long for split those uprights, I was able to hug Tori Bray, Mitchell and Megan Hastings, Meredith Hastings and Sarah Montgomery. We were able to scream together, cry together and roll Toomer’s together. Even though my parents were thousands of miles away in the Arizona desert celebrating in person, they were there, too. They were there because we are all part of a larger Family – A Family that wins together, loses together, celebrates together and agonizes together. Saying ‘War Eagle’ to a complete stranger in an airport in Europe or Asia or anywhere across the globe isn’t just a simple acknowledgement of a common fanhood, but a mutual nod to an understanding that we are part of something way bigger than ourselves. We’re in this together.

Champions. Together.

War Damn Eagle.


A New Identity

This past Sunday, I experienced a sort of monumental shift in my life. It was essentially like any other Sunday I’ve had the past three and a half years, yet strangely different. Yes, this Sunday marked the last time I would stand in front of the Auburn Wesley Foundation’s Sunday Night Worship with my guitar, leading worship. Without a doubt, it was a bittersweet evening.

My journey with Wesley’s worship life began in late 2006 when I was approached by Joe Davis, the Worship Chair at that time. Joe and I hadn’t met, so pretty much all he knew about me was I was “that new guy from Belmont that majored in bass.” As fate (God?) would have it, the band he played drums in had a bass-shaped hole, so he extended an invitation for me to join in the upcoming semester. I readily accepted, as I was still searching out my place not only at Wesley, but at Auburn as well.

From the spring of 2007 on, every other Sunday afternoon consisted of me arriving at Wesley around 5:00 pm, setting up and preparing to lead that night at 8:00. Shortly after I began playing bass in Joe’s band, the worship leader for the other band at Wesley decided to leave, thereby leaving another need. I auditioned and was selected to lead that band as well, so every single Sunday went about the same.

I’d be lying if I said that every single group I’ve played with here has been a rosy experience. In all honesty, that first band I’d ever actually led was miserable. There were personal conflicts, musical conflicts, and even theological conflicts. Not a great recipe for the worship life of your ministry. Through it all, however, God was hammering me like a piece of metal to form me into what He needed me to be. From that point on, I led worship at Wesley.

A friend and mentor asked me about my last experience on Monday morning. “What was it like last night, knowing it was your last time?” she asked. Bittersweet, I told her. It was refreshing, knowing I would finally have Sunday afternoons to enjoy, not having to set up equipment for practice or make copies of sheet music because the members of my band keep losing theirs, and being able to pass the torch I’ve held for probably too long to someone else. It was tough, though. This had been my home. At that point, she agreed, and added this stark realization:

“I mean, it’s kind of been your identity.”

My identity. Who I was. Nothing could’ve been truer. I’ve done a lot of things at Wesley. Almost all of those things have been tied to worship. Worship for me has been the way that I serve.

To leave that all behind has in a way left me without something to cling to.

We are called to sometimes leave those identities behind I suppose. To offer ourselves to God to be hammered and formed into the next tool for the Kingdom. To pick up our Cross and move to the next station, whereby God says to us, “Helluva job. Now let’s get to work.”

God has blessed me tremendously through worship. I’ve never pretended to be a good musician, singer, or worship leader. It’s been pretty horrible at times. Those times that have formed this identity for me, though, are the times that it’s been just that. Times when my mind would wander in the middle of a song, only to be Divinely corrected and centered by butchering a chord or forgetting the words. Times when I would get either frustrated with my partners in worship, or worse, apathetic. Times when I hear my recorded voice and cringe at the pitch-iness of it all.

For me, that’s what worship is. Bringing before God your brokenness, your troubles, fears, anxieties, vices and hurts and laying them down saying, “Holy are You.” We try to bring our best, knowing that it’s not and will never be good enough. Yet we still come, singing of the mercy of God, all the while not being completely sure if we’ll get it again…

…but we do.

We praise in our songs the glory and majesty of God, even though sometimes we wonder if it will still be available to us, even after all the awful stuff we’ve done…

…but it is.

We sing of loving one another, even though when we leave we’ll go back to our computers and newspapers and read of the suffering, oppressed, hurting and alienated and do nothing…and I mean nothing…about it, or even do things in opposition to them, then realize it and think, “Surely God cannot do anything with me now…”

…but He does.

Worship is pouring out our love to God and receiving His love in return. I’m undeservedly blessed to have been able to pour out and receive for almost four years.

So now as I trade my worship identity for another…

…oops I mean…

...I go forward in whatever God has for me next, proclaiming the mystery that is in us:

Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Thanks be to God.


Revisiting Latvia: The Accents

One of the best parts of my trip to Latvia was listening to Beesh, Mitchell and Bob communicate almost exclusively in accents they deemed "Latvian." None were really close, but they made for some really, really funny moments. I've been meaning to do this since the trip, but am just now revisiting the idea. So, without further adieu...

sounded like

Beesh was known as the Latvian Borat, randomly yelling "Whatsup Girl" out the window of the Europcar and shouting insults about gypsies at the 100-foot statue in the Vilnius square.

sounded like

Jimmy Swaggart-wannabe Mitchell Nelson took Beesh's accent, warped it a little bit, then came out sounding like Waluigi off Mario Kart. Hello, Lady!

sounded like

Honing his French skills in high school and college, Bob-o dropped the language but kept the accent as we traveled the Baltics. Photo inspiration courtesy of Neal NeSmith. Check out his blog Tri-Like-An-Eagle.

So there you have it. Next time you're in Latvia and Lithuania, unless you have these three accents surrounding you at all times, you probably won't have as much fun as we did.


Beck-oning for a Revolution

“You can surely tell you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” -anne lamott

My feelings toward Glenn Beck are not a secret. Any length of time spent scanning my facebook page would reveal any one of Jon Stewart, the dailykos or the Huffington Post reaming the Fox News personality for the latest black-hole-stupid thing he’s said.

If you’ve ever watched or listened to a select piece of his TV or radio program, you’ll know that Mr. Beck sincerely loves his country. So much so that he is willing to willingly broadcast complete falsities with no repercussions or accountability from his network or fans to make sure that his country doesn’t fall into the hands of those he hates.

For months now, his program has featured an actor dressed up in Communist garb sitting on the set waiting to answer a fake phone from…somebody. I’m not really sure what this act of pure grandstanding seeks to accomplish to be honest. His radical claims that the Obama administration is slowly ushering in socialism, communism, Nazism, or any other –ism you can think of goes not only unchecked, but also unchallenged by the viewers of his program.

It was no surprise, then, that this week Beck urged Americans to leave any church that preached a message of social justice.

I am now convinced that Glenn Beck is merely a tool of the Dark One to focus my attention away from anything important and to get me so riled up that I can’t even think straight.

As I discussed this on the phone with Pops yesterday, he said as he laughed, “Well, I guess Jesus would have to leave His own church.” I guess He’s right, assuming we’re talking about white-skinned, red-blooded, apple pie eating, brown flowing haired American Jesus. That assumption wouldn’t deal with Jesus the Christ at all.

The Gospel without a message of social justice is simply no Gospel at all. Rob Bell says in Jesus Wants to Save Christians that God always fights for victims of injustice. For Glenn to assert that churches, synagogues and parishes that preach social justice are just veils of communism and Nazism is to surely say, as Anne says up top, that he, much like many Americans, has created God in his own image.

When we use our American Tea Party hermeneutic to interpret Scripture, we will most certainly come to the same conclusion that those who tune into the Glenn Beck Program experience. When we read the Bible objectively, being as faithful to the historicity of the text as we are able, then we see that Jesus was ALL about justice…even social and economic justice!

What it comes down to, though, is that no matter our philosophy on government, no matter what party and politician we align ourselves with, the call of Christ remains that we are to love our God and neighbor with all that is in us.

Even those that seek to divide the country with false information and vitriol, without so much as a college degree to back it up.

Even, much to my dismay, Glenn Beck.

For more views on this check out "An Open Letter to Glenn Beck" by Jack Hinnen at A United Method

Hurting with the Hurting

A few months ago, I drove to Duke to visit with a friend and poke around the Div School once more. While I was there, I was fortunate enough to catch a forum/discussion between a local news anchor and Stanley Hauerwas, Duke professor and one of the more renowned theologians in the country. The forum, titled, “Christianity in the World Today: A Conversation with Hauerwas,” centered on current and cultural events and how they related to Christianity in the world.

Inevitably, one of the first topics that Dr. Hauerwas was asked about was the then-hot topic of health-care reform. If we’re being honest, I expected a much different answer than “America’s Best Theologian,” dubbed by Time Magazine, gave. Being the academic bastion of modern Christian ethics that he was and is, I anticipated an answer that indicted the current health-care system in its for-profit nature; I expected a scathing attack on the insurance industry, the far-right supercapitalists who held no regard for each human life that deteriorated because of inability to afford costs, and lastly (and probably least) the lobbyists and politicians that fought for the current system to stay in place. I’m sure my expectations weren’t much different from everyone else in the room, either.

What I got was much, much different.

Hauerwas instead spoke of modern aversion to pain, suffering and mortality. In a short, slightly annoyed sounding response, he spoke of how people today are so sickened by the thought of death we try to avoid it at whatever cost. The human touch, he said, is a lost art. Instead of being there with a loved one as they die, we insist on looking for the newest cure that will, at best, lengthen the life by a few years. We are so insulated from feeling pain and being with those that are sick, he added, that we cannot imagine having to actually care for someone in their last days.

On the hoof, I felt it was an overly callous response. What could someone, high atop his or her ivory tower in the academy, know about real pain anyway? Isn’t this just another example of people like him talking at an issue rather than speaking words of wisdom?

That was all before Haiti.

When the earthquake struck, I simply could not bring myself to watch the videos and look at the pictures. It was a catastrophe for which I saw no light, no hope and no way out for a nation that had no hope to begin with.

Why could I not allow myself to feel some of the pain that an entire country was feeling? Sure, I jumped quickly to donate money through the Red Cross, UMCOR and other organizations that would aid the victims. I knew they needed prayer, so we collectively prayed at Wesley on Thursday. But, what held me from feeling the pain through the pictures and videos?

Could that brilliant, cranky old professor have been right?

It is easy to throw money at a situation. It is not so easy to get down on the level of the victim of a situation, to feel that pain with them, to hurt with them, to cry with them. What I discovered through my episode with the pictures and video was that I, indeed, had become insulated from feeling such immense pain and suffering.

Walter Brueggeman submits it is easier for us today to practice charity, when, what Christ actually calls us to is solidarity with the poor and those that hurt. How true I’ve found that to be. When we open ourselves to the hurts of others, we allow ourselves to feeling that hurt ourselves. Just as Christ poured Himself out for us, we pour ourselves for others, taking up their cross just as He, in a sense, took up ours. Our humanity is tied to their humanity. This ubuntu leads us to feel the same pain they feel.

The same pain we've somehow managed to insulate ourselves from.

Solidarity…not charity.

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, kyrie eleison.

Wesley Advent Devotional

Here's my annual Advent devotional I wrote for Wesley. Thought I'd share.

Read 2 Samuel 7:11b-16

I think it is safe to say we’ve all experienced the feeling as children. The date is December 21 or 22 and the presents are starting to accumulate under the tree. It’s less than a week till Christmas Day, but the calendar seems to stretch on forever before Christmas Eve, much less the actual day. Some years I could feel my excitement grow so strong that it was almost a pain. Anticipation for a coming promise is a pretty arduous journey. You know it is coming yet it seems so far away.

In the text for today, God makes David a promise. He promises His anointed King to make [him] a house…to raise up offspring after [him]…to establish a kingdom. These are all promises intended to fulfill the covenant made with God’s people long ago. The interesting thing about this passage comes in the first promise: “I will give you rest from your enemies.” Yet, in my translation, the next passage is titled “David’s Wars.” I think this highlights a simple element that we’ve lost in our culture today; an element that we’ve lost in our Church today.

Our microwave society has conditioned us to expect things immediately, to look for things as soon as we ask for them, to never wait on anything. In 2 Samuel, God makes David a series of promises, but still needs David to wait, to endure, to be patient. God needs David to be faithful.

The season of Advent requires us to wait. It, however, is not an idle period. It is a period in which we fervently prepare for that which is promised to us; that pledge is the coming of a King who makes all things new.

The word Paul uses many times for patience is often translated as “long-suffering.” When we come to Christ, we are not automatically equipped to bear the cross we are called to take up. Again, we are called to be patient, called to prepare, called to love.

Advent calls us to a time of preparation for a coming promise. It is such in our day-to-day lives as well. We cannot expect the promise of sanctification, of being made holy and perfect in God’s sight, to come automatically. Christ calls us to a long, sometimes treacherous journey; He also gives us the promise of walking with Him.

In this time of celebration that is Advent, let us rejoice in the promise that God has made us in the coming King. Let us also prepare to receive that which is love, that we may be ultimately perfected in the promise of an almighty God.

Rejoice, for unto us a child is born. Hosanna!


Rasslin' With Them Angels

Let me make one thing perfectly clear:

I carry an unhealthy disdain of the University of Alabama...every single thing about that crimpsun-and-white wasteland of a campus and the legions of bubbas who have never even set foot on the aforementioned area of real estate.

Some have asked me, “Why get so riled up about something as trivial as football?” The simple answer? It’s not just football. It’s a job, a vocation, an M.O. Whenever a person is either born or moves into the Yellowhammer state, said job is assigned. You pick a side, not because you want to, but because it is foreordained. You are either orange-and-blue or red-and-white. It cannot be both ways. It cannot be “Well, I cheer for Auburn until they play Alabama.” It just cannot. We are Auburn, they are Alabama. With that assignment, comes a specific personality and job description. It is what it is.

Alabama fans are not insufferably arrogant, delusional, and mistakenly prideful because they want to be…nay, they just are. Auburn fans are not eaten up with an inferiority complex because we want to be, but because we are. It is our job as followers of The Creed to loathe all things crimson, and it is their job to act like, no matter how different reality may seem, those poor little aubies who come to beg at the table of the mighty Tahd are just a forlorn little brother who only wants to be like him.

My personal frame of reference comes from many personal experiences, starting all the way in elementary school. To be clear, most people included were born in 1986-7, the middle of Auburn and Pat Dye’s four year streak. We were barely in kindergarten in 1992, but for the sake of maintaining a seeming objectivity, we’ll include it. So, most of my Tide-loving peers knew little if any of the “tradition” that was constantly wagged in my face and others, namely my PIC, Neal. Yes, the Auburn fans were few, but even then, we acted as our job required. The years Alabama won, school on Monday was insufferable. Taunts came from every direction. Jokes were made, laughs were had, as if Auburn had never won a game…ever. The years the Tigers won, Neal and I would walk into school wearing the same proud Auburn grin we always carried around, saying little to nothing about the game, while our peer group from the West carefully explained away what should’ve happened the Saturday before; the mistakes that were made, the calls that were missed, and almost always, the excuses of why “Little Brother” had managed to be blessed with a win. It is the way it is.

I use the phrase “it is what it is” as partial truth and partial jab. The reference obviously comes from 2007 when newly hired part-time-coach and full time savior Nick Saban suspended receiver DJ Hall for the Louisiana-Monroe game, only to be on the brink of losing and “un-suspend” him. (They still lost, by the way). The partial truth comes from the fact that this is the way it will always be. While this particular action speaks rather profoundly to the Tahd’s ultimate corporate personality, I’ll leave it be for now. Auburn and Alabama fans alike will always be the way they are. Years from now, some child, born in the mid-90s, will claim “12 national championships” in the face of an Auburn friend, when really, he doesn’t even know that half of those championships are worth nothing more than some homer sportswriter’s word. That same Auburn fan will turn around to his friend, looking for some kind of affirmation from his friends that yell “ARR TEE ARR WOOOO!” because that is simply the way it is.

Despite the facts that since some long-deceased coach passed Auburn holds a decisive five-game lead, Alabama fans will continue to claim we are their “little brother.” Even though they’ve had almost as many scandals as they have head coaches since the early 90s, they will still feel like they are one of the most respected programs in the country. And though they will still feel like they have a right to win every game and every player they have will be at least All-SEC just because they are tha Unibuhsitee of Alahbumma by GAWD, they will still only be a moderately successful program by national standards.

Twenty years ago this year, a very large wrench was thrown into that personality, though. Most, if not all, Alabama fans swore that Jordan-Hare Stadium would never see the game played on its field. After years of haggling, the moment finally arrived. In what was undoubtedly the biggest Tiger Walk in history, the air that day has been described by many as nothing short of “electric.” As you probably know, the Tigers defeated the previously undefeated Tide, and suddenly, things began to look a lot more even. This event, possibly the biggest and most significant event in Auburn sports history, speaks tremendously to what I’m describing in this post. Alabama, the juggernaut of the 70s, finds it utterly beneath them to come to “that cow college.” To this day, most Turd fans will heartily deny that Auburn is even their biggest rival. Don’t blame them, though. It’s simply who they are. They will always be arrogant, dismissive, and high-and-mighty no matter how good or bad they are. It’s not a crime, it’s just their job.

We might not win on Friday. Hell, we probably won’t. But I will never stop pouring the most burnt orange and the navy-est blue liquid you’ve ever seen when I’m cut. I will never stop getting chills when the first drawn-out intro comes from the beginning of “War Eagle.” I will never stop bending my shaker into an L from effort put into cheering. I will never stop getting misty-eyed when my alma mater is played. I will never cease to be in awe when Spirit or Nova circles the stadium. I will not stop standing for those things listed in the Creed I love. Why? Because I believe in what Auburn is. I believe in those things, and by God, I love Auburn University with everything in me.

So if we win, I will have never been more proud. If we lose, I will never stop being proud of being an Auburn Tiger. Auburn is not and will never be simply about one person, player or coach. We will never worship a coach like some people do. The men that are lucky enough to wear the AU on their helmet stand for something more. They represent a people, not all consumed with simply winning and championships. They are concerned with those things, but they are about being better people for having experienced what Auburn University is. They are better people for wearing the orange and blue. They are a part of something bigger.


Because it is our job.

“I ain’t smart enough to tell you how I feel about ya. I mean…it’s family, every one of you…you know it. Sure I’d like to be 11-0, ya know, but lemme tell you somethin’. I wouldn’t swap this year for any year that I’ve been at Auburn. I wouldn’t swap it, men. I wouldn’t swap because I’ve watched you struggle and I’ve watched you rassle’ with them angels…and I’ve watched you grow up and become men. I’ve watched you become men.”

-Patrick Fain Dye, December 2, 1989 :: Auburn 30, Alabama 20

Weagle weagle WAR DAMN EAGLE, kick the ever-loving crap out of the tooth in their houndstooth skull BIG BLUE.

War Damn Eagle.