Last week I tried, without much success, to convey why and how I came to be an Auburn Girl. It turns out that to discuss one's love for Auburn and the Auburn rivalry with Alabama without offending Alabama fans is tough, and the diplomatic Libra that I am doesn't want to hurt anybody's feelings. I strongly feel that even as rivalries exist, we should respect other people's alma maters. The sidewalk alumni can still suck it.
If only we could live in a world where after each Iron Bowl, we could all join hands--Auburn and Alabama fans united--and sing songs in perfect harmony, and share a Coke and a smile, and forget about how much we hate each other. I'm so full of shit today. Then I read Kurt Branch of Auburn fansite WarBlogle.com contribute his thoughts to the Blogger Roundtable of al.com. You can read the post in it's entirety here, but I'll share a few snippets from his post, because he expresses my thoughts even better than I did...and without insulting anybody! Perhaps he isn't plagued with insomnia and consumed by a four-month-old baby who runs his ass ragged? Or maybe he's just smarter than me. Or maybe I should never write about sports. Either way, read my two-cents in bold beside his quotes.
But first a disclaimer, so that I don't have to worry all day that my post hurt somebody's feelings: To Alabama Alumni and Family who read this: I have nothing but love and respect for you. Life is so cold in your shadow, please don't hate me for celebrating Auburn's day in the sun. xoxo
"We all know that Alabama has the larger fanbase, and we all know why that's the case, and it's not because Alabama has had so many more graduates than Auburn. It's human nature to want to pull for the team that has a storied history, lots of championships, and all that good stuff. So, if you have no ties to either school, why not pick Alabama? It's the easier road, right?" Yeah, I basically said that in my post--only in a more fragmented, less articulate way.
"No, I'm not implying that every person in the state who didn't go to college pulls for the Tide." Not EVERY person. "I know tons of people who pull for Auburn who never took a class anywhere. But in general, for the most part, most Auburn fans went to Auburn or have a deep connection to the school, while lots of Alabama fans do not have any real connection to the University of Alabama. They, or their parents, just picked the team that was considered more of a winner way back when. That's not a jab. It's human nature, it's numbers, and it's the honest truth, whether you want to believe it or not. A "jab" would be to say, "I wear this Auburn shirt because I went to Auburn, you wear that Alabama shirt because you went to Wal-Mart."
"I love the family feel, and I love the connection that I have with a good portion of Auburn fans. I also love the underdog role that Auburn is so often forced to deal with. I'm not conceding to the whole "little brother" idea that Bama fans are so quick to mention, but Auburn does oppose the state school, has the smaller (and fine with it) fanbase, and resides in an area that would never be confused for a bustling metropolis." I wish Bama fans would stop pointing out that Auburn is cow pasture-adjacent LIKE IT'S A BAD THING. It's like when I was a kid and other kids would call me a "redhead" as an insult. Auburn is rural and quaint and lovely. Not every university can be located in a city so impressive and beautiful as Tuscaloosa. It's our loss, but somehow we make do. "That being said, looking at the two schools only, there are no glaring differences in terms of statistics, awards, enrollment, etc. Needless to say, Auburn does more, or at least equal, with less."
"Not to mention, the Tigers just won their 700th game in their own storied history. Only twelve other teams in the history of college football can say they have accomplished that feat, so Auburn is by no means a second-tier team or school." Thanks, Kurt, I did not know that! I like how your opinions are backed up with facts, where as I just write about my feelings. I'm such a chick that way.
"Now what gets under my skin is when one of those many Alabama fans who didn't attend the school they pull for talks trash to me, as an actual Auburn graduate, using the word "we" when talking about the Tide. No sir, you didn't do anything. You didn't pay one dime, or sit in one class. Don't talk to me like you're better than me when I'm the only one pulling for the school I actually attended. This does not include you, Alabama graduates." It bears repeating: This does not include you, Alabama GRADUATES. "Although I do not agree with your school choice, you have all the right in the world to talk trash to me, make fun of me when Auburn loses, and take what I can dish out when Alabama loses. It is you that have done nothing but buy an Alabama t-shirt and then feel entitled to talk down at me or my school that I have a problem with." Amen! If I were an Alabama graduate, I would be aggravated by the "sidewalk alumni". Or maybe you get used to it. It's your beast of burden, Bama grads.
"Although it makes no sense, it's what makes the rivalry great, albeit infuriating at times. The whole state takes part, whether it's deserved or not, and gives everybody something to hold on to all year round." Um yeah, I find it mostly infuriating. I wish we lived in a world where the Auburn or Alabama fans were actual graduates of those universities, and the fans were respectful of one another and practiced good sportsmanship, and life was "rainbows and lollipops" all year round!