I Am Auburn

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 4:14 PM | 0 comments »

Here is something I received at work today. It pretty summons up what it means to be an Auburn Tiger:

I am Auburn . I am the 30-year old couple coming back to campus for the
first time with both little ones in tow. One wears her first blue and
orange cheerleader outfit; the other wears #34 even though he is too
young to understand why.

I am the 50-year old man who hoped no one saw tears in his eyes when
the eagle circled the field. I was too choked even to say 'War Eagle'.
For a moment, I felt foolish and then I didn't care. God, I love this

I am the 60 year old woman meeting her freshman granddaughter who is
now the 3rd generation of AU students in our family. Despite my age, I'd
strap it on Saturday and hit someone if it weren't for my gender and
this blasted arthritis.

I am Auburn and I have always believed I was different. You can see it
when you look up into the stands. My orange is not the same as
Tennessee's and my blue is not that of Florida|But the differences go
much deeper than my colors. Read my creed. What other school has one?

I genuinely believe in these things. To be a real Auburn man or woman
speaks of character, not of geography. All are welcome to walk though my
gates, not just the wealthy or the elite.

Georgia and Alabama may have their nations, but we have always been
family. Make no mistake, we loathe defeat, but even in defeat, we would
rather be an Auburn Tiger than anything else. We are family and you are
the sons of Heisman, the sons of Jordan and Dye. You come from a long
line of brothers whose names include Burkett, Sidle, Owens, Sullivan,
Beasley, Jackson and Rocker. It is a great heritage.

So this Saturday, when the warm ups are over and the prayers and amen
spoken, when you hear my thunder growing in the stands above you, when
you stand in the tunnel and the smoke begins to form, listen for my
voice when you run onto my field. Behind the frenzy of the shakers and
deafening roar, I will tell you something in a whisper you may miss. I
will be telling you that you are my sons and I am proud of you for the
way you wear the burnt orange and navy blue. I am telling you that you
are my sons and I love you.

Auburn is so much more than a city or a school or a team or a degree.

It is something that, once you have experienced it, will live inside of
you forever and become a part of what makes up who you are....

It is driving into town on a game day. You may have come from hundreds
of miles away and as you get closer and closer to the city limits, you
feel it rising inside of you. Other cars on the highway proudly display
their Orange and Blue flags or magnets or car tags, and you honk and
wave at them, because, for that one day, you are all on the same team.

It is the smell in the air and the ritualistic act of
tailgating...catching up with old friends, making new ones, and
invitations from perfect strangers to try their ribs or watch their
satellite TV showing all of the day's important match-ups...of course,
all being secondary to the one that will occur in the great cathedral of
Jordan-Hare later that day.

It is the Tiger Walk...where you might just see 300 pound men overcome
with emotion and weeping with pride, because you have come there to
cheer them on. As they walk by, you might exchange a glance with one or
two of them and you can see it in their eyes...it is going to be their

It is the students...dressed in their best, because going to an Auburn
game is like going to church for Auburn people....you show the same
respect as you would if you were in God's house. Those students remind
you of the days when you were walking in their shoes and Auburn was your
home...but then you realize, in many ways, it is still and always will
be HOME.

It is that lump that rises in your throat when the band plays the alma
mater as the eagle is soaring over your head during pre-game.

It is walking around on a "foreign" and sometimes hostile campus. You
are easily identified ( Auburn people always are) and the enemy jeers
and shouts things at you to mask their feelings of intimidation. But
just then, you happen upon a friend you have never met before. You know
they are your friend by the colors they wear or the shaker in their
hand. You exchange a "War Eagle" and a confident grin, because he/she
knows what you know.

It is when your heart leaps with every touchdown, field goal, sack, and
interception...because those are our boys. And win or lose, they will
always have our un-dying support. After all, it is those boys that you
are really there for, and not a coach or a logo or a trustee or a

It is the complete and utter exhilaration of walking away victorious
over a worthy opponent...that feeling of pride and accomplishment as if
it were your own feet that had crossed the goal line scoring the last
points yourself...that feeling of wanting to scream War Eagle" at the
top of your lungs and hug complete strangers...and then there is the
ultimate high of defeating your most hated foes from across the state.

No words can describe what this feels like, but you know because you
have experienced it.

It is the sheer agony of defeat as the last minutes tick off the clock
and you realize that all hope of a victory is gone. You feel like crying
and maybe you do...then you hear the faint sounds of a cheer that grows
louder and louder...."ITS GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER."

It is knowing that year after year, no matter how things change in our
hectic lives, you can always come back to "the Loveliest Village on the
Plains"...the place where you came from...your home. It will probably
look a little different and there will be new names on the backs of the
jerseys, but deep down, no matter what, it is still the same. You still
love it as much as you always have, because Auburn is as much a part of
you as your arms and your legs and the orange and blue blood that runs
through your veins.

And, finally, it is the feeling you have right now as you read these
lines....the anticipation inside of you, because you know it's almost
time....It's about to start all over again...but then it really never
goes away, does it?

Robert L. Gillette, DVM, MSE

Richard G. & Dorothy A. Metcalf
Veterinary Sports Medicine Program

College of Veterinary Medicine
Auburn University