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Undercover Barner: Home Away From The Plains

This week's Undercover Barner explains the intricacies of watching Auburn games in locations not named Auburn.

My child, with legs that just won't quit.
My child, with legs that just won't quit.
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

There’s nothing more beautiful than Jordan-Hare on a gameday. Nothing smells as good as the freshly cut grass and wafting barbecue smoke. And nothing feels like those chills you get at kickoff.

Unfortunately, I only get to experience those magical feelings a few times a year. By definition, this Undercover Barner lives far away from the plains, in enemy territory, at least for another year. I love gameday in Auburn more than anything else in the world, but my work and school schedule means I spend most Saturdays here in Tuscaloosa. But don’t cry for me, Auburn-tina. I’m of the opinion that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

So how does one War Eagle while wading in the Tide? I’ll be honest with you: It takes a good bit of Barning*.

I always awaken with the same knot in my stomach. Every week. As kickoff approaches, that feeling only gets worse. Because of what I like to call the "Auburn Football Nausea Factor," or AFNF for short, my kickoff time preference actually runs opposite to what I’d want were I attending the game. As much as I love night games at JHS, and trust me, I LOVE night games at JHS, waiting all day to see Auburn play is pure agony when you can't be there. 2:30 kickoffs are ideal, with the dreaded 11:00 game sliding solidly in at second place.

Food is tricky. The entire day is determined by kickoff time. I prefer not to eat immediately before or during football games—blame the AFNF. So if we’re talking 11:00 or 2:30 (or I guess 3:00 now with the SEC Network), food is basically out of the question. Maybe an early breakfast, but that has to come from Chick-Fil-A. I’ll eat lunch before a night game, but it has to be barbecue. Tuscaloosa’s barbecue game is acceptable, but it’s no Barbecue House**. This a Barner blog so I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there: Dreamland is overrated. If I’m feeling ribs, I go Archibald’s. I’ve learned to appreciate the smoked wings at Moe’s, and pulled pork necessitates Full Moon. None of this matters if the game is before 6.

The permascowl*** sets in about an hour before kickoff. The AFNF plays in here, too. For me, game-viewing is tricky. I do this irrational thing where I take it personally if someone around me isn’t cheering for my team, so that rules out 100% of my Alabama fan friends. I prefer to watch games with one or two other Auburn fans, but they have to share my intensity, or in the alternative, not tell me to calm down. Related: I watch a lot of games alone.

Once the game kicks off, I slip into some kind of other dimension where nothing exists except Auburn Football. Full disclosure: I’m a wreck during Auburn games. I spent most of the 2010 SEC Championship game, a game I attended and a game Auburn won 56-17, with my head buried in my hands, too nervous to look. I did get to see Darvin’s miracle**** catch, but it was because I thought the play was already over. It’s much the same at home. I spend a lot of time with my head in my shirt*****.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I livetweet what can only be described as my stream of consciousness. If you haven’t caught a replay of Auburn’s 46-point win over San Jose State, here’s my version, as told on Twitter, complete with copious capital letters:

If we win, the day can’t be spoiled. If we don’t, well, I don’t want to talk about it. Being in Tuscaloosa for an Auburn loss is the only thing worse than being in Auburn for it.

But enough of that. What’s your non-Auburn gameday like? Do you have superstitions? Rage tweets? I love reading about other fans’ idiosyncrasies. Makes me feel less crazy.

Enjoy this bye week, Tiger fans. Rest up and enjoy football that doesn’t make you nauseous. Next Thursday’s game makes me awfully nervous, but that’s another post for another time—like next week!

Until next time—War Eagle!

*I strive every day to make you proud, @bobby_barkley.

**My Lee County barbecue rankings are as follows: Barbecue House, Chuck's in Opelika, Mike and Ed's (best ribs in town, by far), Byron's. I entertain no others.

***From about an hour before kickoff to when the clock hits 0:00, my brow is furrowed and nothing can change that. Auburn Football, you bring me equal parts joy and misery, and I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world.

****Haha, we thought THAT was a miracle.

*****I have to apologize for Auburn's auspicious start on Saturday. I wore an undefeated but untested shirt, and I should've known better. Once I finally ditched the blue Comfort Colors for my Cam jersey, Auburn's maligned defense immediately intercepted the ball. I'm deeply sorry for my transgressions.