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War Eagle from a New College and Magnolia Contributor

A brief tale of a Barner whose quest has now come full circle

That's me in the hat grabbing my sunglasses, and that's where the cops came to get me in the 3rd quarter.
That's me in the hat grabbing my sunglasses, and that's where the cops came to get me in the 3rd quarter.

/taps mic

/clears throat

War Eagle.

My name is Robert Irwin (Bobby Barkley on Twitter), and I am a Barner. What does that mean, exactly? I'll try to give you the SparkNotes version.

I'm what you might call a very superstitious and sentimental fan. I have a plastic bin under my bed with "Auburn Memorabilia: DON'T THROW AWAY" scribbled in black permanent ink on the lid. Inside, there's an unopened Auburn rain poncho from the Haley Center Bookstore, bought in 2007. Whenever I brought it to a home game through 2008, we won...and it didn't rain. Still haven't opened it, but it's retired.

There's a plastic sandwich bag with over a dozen gameday pins from the same bookstore from various seasons. A fraternity wristband from "The Rain Game" in 2009 is buried underneath.

In the middle and on top, there are dozens of newsprints from 2010 and 2013 that will eventually be framed. In the corner, an Under Armor athletic towel that Cam Newton threw into the crowd above the exit tunnel after a solid beatdown of UT-Chattanooga in 2010...a towel for which I unabashedly clotheslined three very young fans to catch in the air.

I wore the same Under Armor Auburn polo to every home game in 2013. I placed two rolls of toilet paper on the front dashboard of my car before parking the car downtown to watch every away game (except LSU, which I watched at home), then walked briskly to the car after victory to throw them at Toomer's Corner. I have a roll from the BCS National Champioship game night in 2011, and I have a roll from Kick-Six. They will never be thrown. Next to these, an all-blue shaker that saw Auburn win every home game in 2013 (and one away game at Texas A&M from a barstool inside 1716)...a shaker that waved rebelliously as students were asked to go "All Auburn, All Orange."

My greatest achievement, second only to graduating from Auburn with two degrees, was getting my fifteen minutes of fame on ESPN during the Ole Miss game in 2013, then being promptly thrown out of the same game during the third quarter for throwing the Ole Miss ball out of the top of the stadium after a made field goal flew into the student section. I was the guy at the top. I got a standing ovation, chants of "Let him stay!" and high fives from complete strangers all the way down the stadium stairs. I was sober, and I regret nothing. If anything, I should've put up a better fight with the cops.

My third greatest achievement (maybe the worst, actually) was when I met Tommy Tuberville in the Walmart on South College in December of 2008. I snapped a picture with him on my phone, and I said, "Hey, Coach, hope to see you next season." He said something like, "...okay." He was gone the next day. It was awkward.

In my time as an Auburn student, which started in 2007 as an undergraduate and ended this May with a master's degree, I've witnessed three head football coaches, two and a half head basketball coaches (Pearl is the "half," because I graduated without getting to watch him from the student section of Auburn Arena, but I was at the airport to greet him), the Toomer's Oaks poisoning, a Heisman winner, a Heisman finalist (who should've won), the worst football season in recent memory, and the most incredible turnaround football season in recent memory. It's been a whirlwind for Auburn athletics, and I don't expect it to die down anytime soon.

I got my start through Blake Ells with the War Eagle Sports Radio app, which I'm still part of as the host of "The Prowl" with "Baldwin County's Finest," Dave Kitchens. We hosted the "Pregame/Postgame Prowl" during the 2013 season, in which we provided analysis and game summaries for arguably the most magical season either of us has ever experienced. Currently, our show consists of us rambling and Barning about anything Auburn-related. Summers are kind of slow.

Coming on board with College and Magnolia is a dream come true that started back in the spring of 2013, when I met Blake for the first time leaning against the railing of the ol' Bodega (currently The Bank Vault) the evening of the Toomer's Oaks Celebration. During that night, we watched fans roll the Oaks, we talked about Auburn, traditions, and being a Barner, and from that night, I knew I wanted to get more involved contributing to the Auburn family. I have followed Chris Fuhrmeister's work since then, and now I'm lucky to be a part of what he started. I'm super excited to work with Walt and the rest of the College and Mag crew, many of which I got to meet tailgating during the latter half of last season. This is a community unlike any other, and I'm so happy to be involved with them. My quest has come full circle, but it's far from over. I promise to Barn hard, but more importantly, I promise that we will have fun on this ride together.

War Damn Eagle.