Auburn is a special place. We all believe that and we’ve all said it before. From the first time you fall in love with campus, to the feelings that hit you as you drive down College right past Samford. Auburn is special. And nothing will ever match it. But there’s something special about what’s going on in Auburn Athletics the past few years. These teams continue to teach us to believe – in miracles, in each other, in Auburn. And to love it.
In 2010, the Auburn Family was treated to a dream season on the football field. A Heisman, a National Championship – you’ve heard the story. That team consisted of guys that made each other better, whether they were a star or a benchwarmer. When everything seemed to be against the team, they always found a way to beat the odds. We soon learned not to doubt that team. We had little reason to do so.
After a disappointing 2012 season, Auburn turned the tides once again and made believers out of us with yet another run to the National Championship Game. Far from the dominant performances that the 2010 team put up, the 2013 team did the unthinkable. In unthinkable fashion. Defeating Georgia with a 4th and 17 Hail Mary. Defeating then #1 Alabama on arguably the single greatest play in football history. A near record breaking rushing performance in Atlanta. After a season of thinking we couldn’t be stopped, we were humbled by a runner-up finish in the last game of the season. But we still believed. And we still loved watching that team.
Take a walk across South Donahue to the Auburn Arena, and you’ll find the next special team. Bruce Pearl’s first group of Tigers had high expectations by fans – expectations that Bruce himself tried to lower to a more realistic level. A team that struggled out of the gate, showing they can play well together after scoring 105 points against UL-Lafayette. Heading into the SEC Tournament with only two wins in the last fifteen games of the season, expectations were expectedly low. This team, seeded 13th in the tournament, made a run of the ages defeating Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and LSU with the help of a miraculous KT Harrell shot to face Kentucky in the semifinals. No matter how much a team can go through, there’s still always something left in the tank, and you should never doubt them and count them out.
Two weekends ago concluded the greatest season in Auburn softball history. Many Auburn fans fell in love with this team and watched them compete their hearts out every single time they stepped on the diamond. There’s no telling how many people watched their first ever softball game this season. That just shows how special this team is. This team came into the season being predicted to finish 8th in the SEC. Well, they certainly didn’t do that. A team that thrived on unselfish play went and broke most of the Auburn record book. It truly was a year of firsts. First conference championship. First regional win. First super regional appearance. First Women’s College World Series appearance and win. This team proved you can have fun doing what you love and be good at it. I’ve personally never seen a more selfless team, or a team have as much fun as this one did.
I was lucky enough to make it out to Oklahoma City. Even after four long hours on Saturday night against a good UCLA team, I knew that this Auburn softball team had the ability to pull the double plays off, to hit the long ball into the gaps, to pull of the win.
Auburn is special. Auburn people are special. Auburn Athletics are making special memories for everyone involved. It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger. I’ll always believe in Auburn, and love it.
For the full coverage of Auburn Softball's run through the NCAA Tournament here on College and Magnolia, check out our story stream on the subject.