Hi everyone and War Eagle!
As many of you know, I do a good bit of travel with my job spending many hours in airports across the country. Many of you also know that I almost always express my Tiger pride by wearing a shirt or ball cap with Auburn insignia while traveling. 90% of the time I get a big “War Eagle” from fellow Tigers and it is marvelous to swap stories with old timers and newcomers alike.
Today, my travels brought me home from New York…
4:30am: I don my 2003 Capital One Bowl score shirt – Auburn 13, Penn State 9. There’s method to my madness as this is the shirt I elected to wear last weekend in Knoxville’s Neyland Stadium. I chose to showcase this hard fought defensive battle over a big ten power to communicate to Vol fans that yes we have been there and can do it again. Of course we trounced the big Orange and now this shirt is something of a good luck charm.
5:21am: As I enter the line to go through security at New York’s LaGuardia airport, my first “War Eagle” of the day echoes through ticketing. A young lady approaches me with a smile as I reply “War DAMN Eagle!” Turns out she wasn’t an alum or student, but grew up in Auburn because her father works for the University.
5:27am: I managed to clear the radar screen of security but a big burly TSA agent approaches me and speaks in his native Bronx tongue “Auburn looks pretty good this year. Can you guys go all the way?” I proudly bestow a wide grin and let this stranger to southern football know that “there’s a lot of season left, but we look pretty good right now.” I did knock on wood. Superstition is salvaged.
7:56am: A nice flight down to Cincinnati gets even better as I exit the plane. A Delta agent in the Jetway sees my orange shirt. “Auburn’s lookin’ pretty tough,” he says and it’s obvious I’m back down south as the Kentucky twang in his voice matches the spark in his eye (the Cincy airport is actually in Northern Kentucky for those who are unaware of that). I nod and again with an accepting grin acknowledge the stranger with “there’s lots of ball left to play. War Eagle!”
8:12am: I stop in to the pick up the morning paper at a news stand in terminal A. “We don’t sell stuff to Aw-brun people,” the cashier states. She looks serious so I inquired as to her loyalty. She’s a Wildcats fan alright and she knows her work is cut out for her as there won’t be much of a cat fight on October 23. I politely point out that chances are very high that her pet’s vet is an AU alum as UK sends their veterinarian students to Auburn (or at least they did when I went to school there). It was a sucker punch. She just couldn’t imagine pulling against the person who cares for that little pooch of hers. “Well I guess I can become an Auburn fan, except for when they play Kentucky,” she says. “But I won’t ever root for Florida or LSU. I hate those guys.” Another big “War Eagle” and I’m on my way to two eggs with bacon and toast, and a very long lay over.
10:46am: Many phone calls and cups of coffee later, I’m finally being called to board my flight home. As I hustle into line a loaffy lady, with a nice perm I might add, looks back to me along with her husband, “it sure is nice to see an orange shirt without a big white ‘T’ on it!” The husband snickers while a gentleman behind me, who obviously knows the couple, speaks up “that hurts. Especially in front of an Auburn fan.” We briefly chatted about the game, the disaster that fell on his beloved UT Vols. “The quarterbacks aren’t the problem. We need better defense!” The now-oh-so-humble Vols fan is still in denial. “It’s ok though, we’ll beat Georgia this weekend,” he says.
10:52am: My travel is almost complete as I take my seat next to a college aged girl. With blond hair and a pink sweater I fully expect a conversation about her love for miniature toy poodles and the Backstreet Boys. Instead the first question from her mouth is “who does Auburn play this weekend?” Turns out her sister is an AU alum, now living in good ole Charlottesville, VA. “We have La Tech,” I say. “Don’t they have a good running back?” she asks.
“Yes it is very much a new day,” I said to myself as I settled into my reading for the short flight home. A new day indeed.
The weather here in Virginia is almost perfect. A bright blue sky and clean crisp air welcomed me home. The drive over the mountains revealed the impending change of the seasons – the hardwoods are starting to change color. Soon they’ll be just enough orange in the foliage to go with that big blue sky. And Auburn… well there’s still allot of football left to play.
It’s great to be alive and… It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger. War Eagle everyone!
I feel like Arsenio Hall… hmmmm.