We don’t have your typical off days. And we don’t work your usual schedule. And while sometimes, you feel shorted, there’s times we can do things no other working adults can and it’s truly one of the greatest blessings. Like yesterday.
113 miles is all that stands between us and Auburn, Alabama. And so with the Tigers in the BCS championship game with the national title on the line and the day off from work, we decided there’d be no better place to be to watch the game than the little college town off of I-85.
My first trip to Alabama in probably ten years, my very first trip to Auburn–and we’d be going on the day Auburn played for the national title.
Justin, Christian, and I met at work around 2:15 on Monday afternoon and headed down 85 with snacks and a few rolls of toilet paper, ready to roll Toomer’s Corner in celebration of a Tigers win. While I’d enjoyed watching Auburn this season after their miraculous last-second thrillers and Christian wanted to see a good game, Justin’s the lifelong Auburn fan and wanted nothing more than to see a Tigers victory.
After an hour and 40min on the road, lots of karaoke, and little traffic, we pulled off of 85 onto College Ave. and stopped in the famous Auburn eatery, Momma Goldberg’s. Our next stop was further down the street at the intersection of College and Magnolia–the site of the famous Toomer’s Corner. We parked the car and stopped for lemonade at Toomer’s Drugs, the mom-and-pop shop most famous in town. While the temperature was an un-southern-like 23 degrees, I loved staring at the wires with the AU logos criss-crossing the intersection and seeing where the Toomer Oaks once stood.
We drove across campus and parked next to Jordan-Hare Stadium, the site of those two unforgettable Auburn miracles this season–the game-winning, helmet-bouncing touchdown against Georgia and then the very best college football game I’ve ever watched, the Iron Bowl’s unbelievable missed-field-goal-attempt-return-for-TD as time expired. If only Auburn had one more miracle left in them and could defeat Florida State.
After soaking in the magic of Jordan-Hare, we filed into Auburn Arena as the doors opened for the school’s official viewing party. With the university still on winter break until Wednesday, we didn’t know what to expect with the crowds, as we figured plenty of fans and alum would trek to campus, just as we did.
Auburn Arena was buzzing with anticipation and the two hours until kickoff passed quickly. The game, shown on the jumbotron above the court, was played in Pasadena, and the crowd was getting into it as if they were actually at the game–yelling all the cheers, getting loud on third down, waving their orange and blue pom-poms.
We truly couldn’t have asked for a better title game. I was a casual Auburn fan all year, just because they were so much fun to watch, but going to Auburn, being with 5,000 Auburn fans, I couldn’t help but get swept up in it all. It was such an experience and I was so genuinely rooting for the Tigers.
For most of the 4th quarter, we stood on our feet, hands over our mouths, just staring at the screen, hoping the Tigers just had a little bit of that War Eagle magic left to upend Famous Jameis. I wanted them to win so the place would erupt, I wanted them to win so we could celebrate, I wanted them to win so I could tell my kids we rolled Toomer’s Corner on the night the Tigers won the national title.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
As we drove out of Auburn, we passed Toomer’s Corner one last time, and watched a few fans roll the corner in celebration of a great season. While it was sad to see, I loved it. The fans weren’t devastated. They’d made it to the national title game and they were so passionate and so proud and they were going to celebrate that, Coaches’ Trophy in hand or not.
I couldn’t have had a better time in Alabama with good friends. Auburn and FSU definitely sent the BCS out on a high note and I’ll never forget that I was able to watch the title game in Auburn.