SORE EAGLE! That’s exactly what the TGF College Edition crew and I found ourselves chanting on the way home after an enjoyable, exhausting shoot at Auburn University. We caught the Tigers by the tail…gate, and had a great time. Albeit perhaps the sweatiest one in Tailgate Fan history. We had non-stop fun in this picture perfect college town, the kind that makes you wish you could go back to school, or maybe just never leave. But when you’re rocking and rolling, chugging and chewing in mid-90s southern heat (real feel: 105), you’re gonna feel it in the morning. And maybe squeeze in an extra shower or two.
Everything we’d heard about Auburn — rabid fandom, pretty people, southern hospitality — was all true, and then some. This was my second time ever to Alabama, the first time having been to Tuscaloosa last fall for our Alabama episode (Roll Tide!) After a pleasant flight from NYC to Atlanta, we made our way to Auburn, which is just a 90-minute ride from the ATL. Upon arrival we exited the car and melted like unattended soft serve cones. Have mercy! A weekend isn’t enough time to get used to that heat, so to refresh like a local we visited world famous Toomer’s Drugs for a lemonade, an absolute must. The rest of our Friday included touring a gorgeous campus, meeting some of the locals, and then reveling with them in pre-pregame party spirit at a local watering hole. People kept telling me, “When you’re in Auburn you’re family,” which kinda made the town, and school, like a giant Olive Garden, just substitute unlimited salad and breadsticks for football and beer.
Saturday was tremendous. A great game day, chock full of spirit, snacks, suds and sweat. Man, do these fans love them some Auburn! If I had a dollar for every “War Eagle! HEY!” chant I heard I could have easily upgraded to first class on the way home. There’s a reason they’re the Tigers but chant “War Eagle!” but that’s what Wikipedia is for. Anyway, even for a “mild week” by local standards (this was a non-SEC showdown), we encountered loads of that signature southern hospitality; friendly folks offering delicious food, ice-cold beverages and high-fives under every tent and behind every grill. If my team had taken me for the improbable ride Auburn had last season, and had the track record they do, then I’d be as inclined to share the life and team I love so much like these fans. We did hear, over and over, all day long, “Y’all should come back for an Alabama / LSU / Georgia game.” Apparently the rivalry really cranks up the pregame festivities. Umm… OK! Deal. We’ll be there, show or not. Just with an extra change of clothes, and an extra cooler.
After a six-plus hour shoot, we packed up and made way back to the NYC via the ATL, a smooth flight topping off a great weekend. Auburn truly is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” but there’s nothing plain about it. That’s a “Score Eagle!” of a weekend for Team TGF. Now on to a visit with another team of Tigers — howdy-doo, Mizzou!