Friends, Tigers, Plainsmen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Gus Malzahn, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Malzahn.
…Are all the doomy gloomers and/or Alabama fans gone yet? Because we've got some serious Barning to resume.
Welcome back to the most wonderful time of the year, Tiger fans! I know we’re supposed to be in full-blown panic mode about any number of offseason maladies, but I just can’t bring myself to get worked up about it right now. There's no telling what Auburn's record will be at the end of the season, but as of today, with Auburn sitting pretty at zero losses, I'm happy to enjoy the fresh hope only early September can bring.
Like an oasis* in the desert of a long and desolate offseason, the first Auburn Football game of 2016 is upon us. There've been numerous countdowns, both ironic and sincere, but we're finally in the single digits. While some folks are already making plans for the demise of Auburn Football as we know it, I remain firmly in camp "Hey we haven't even lost yet." Like Marc Antony, I’m not so quick to bury our fearless leader (though ours, thankfully, has remained unstabbed). Miss me?
If you’re new around here, welcome to a weekly wild ride of sentimentality, capital letters**, and GIFs. If you’re a regular or occasional visitor, I’m not sure why they’ve let me hang around for another year either, but here we are. Either way, my mom is super glad you clicked the hyperlink.
I’ll be honest with you. This past offseason was a weird one. I vacillated wildly between avoiding Auburn sports and obsessing over them, and I couldn’t quite get a read on my heart. Notably, women's spring sports were an absolute joy to watch. However, I still wanted nothing to do with football, and the few remaining distractions I typically busy myself with (read: baseball) either lost their luster or blew up in my face.
As August approached, I realized my fan physique could use some work. I mean, it's only natural to be out of shape after an extended offseason. The players don't show up to their first game pre-conditioned. As fans, it's our responsibility to make sure we're game-ready. So in an effort to be all that I could be, I began working on my #fanfitness.
First up: committing new roster names and numbers to memory.
This labor included making plenty of puns with their names. You know, for Twitter purposes.
I mean, good for safety or whatever.
But now that actual real live game week is upon us, it’s time to start training in earnest.
Here are some tips to make sure you’re as game-ready as the Tigers this Saturday:
1. Get that Twitter account right!
If you can’t actually attend a game, following along on Twitter while watching the TV broadcast is the next best thing. Not only can you experience Auburn Football with several hundred of your closest friends, if you play your cards right, you can end the evening with a virtual transcript of all your perfectly normal and incredibly sane sports thoughts. But you have to make sure you’ve got all #AuburnTwitter account bases covered, including those that are sappy, angry, informative, and absurd***.
2. Work on your in-game strength and conditioning!
If you’re lucky enough to attend the games, these gametime essentials include but certainly are not limited to
(a) Standing for upwards of two hours at a time (you sit when your team sits--at halftime)
(b) Shaking an appropriately colored shaker in perfect celebratory rhythm
(c) High-fiving your game seat neighbor so you don’t end up smacking each other in the face when Kerryon totes that rock across the goal line for the first time
(d) Throwing your appropriately colored shaker in frustration (rhythm not important)
(e) Carrying an irresponsible amount of concessions placed precariously on two to three stadium cups full of Coca Cola**** products
(f) Hugging all of the members of your section after a hard fought victory
(g) Hugging all of the members of your section after a hard fought loss (and apologizing to them for using that kind of language around their children).
3. Make sure your voice is strong!
A non-exhaustive list of the things you should be prepared to yell in JHS:
(a) War Eagle! (the song and the greeting*****)
(b) Bodda Getta (This one also requires physical movement, so be prepared!)
(c) How stupid it is that we still do Two Bits
(d) Nonsensical loud garbage sounds when Auburn is making a defensive stand
(e) Nothing as you hide your whole head in your shirt when Auburn is taking an offensive risk (Or so I've read about...)
(f) Curses at the coaching staff to RUN THE BALL
(g) Curses at the coaching staff that RUNNING THE BALL IS STUPID and that they should THROW THE BALL
How will you work on your #fanfitness?
This fall may be a contentious one, and I'm not just talking about typical SEC rivalries. There's a national election going on that's already ugly and is bound to get a lot worse before November. But I think one thing we can all agree on is that it feels good to be back here, among friends, believing in Auburn and loving it.
If you're making an pilgrimage to the plains to see Aubie prove why he's the much better Tiger mascot, maybe I'll see you there in your finest orange! If you're watching from home, make sure to flex those twitter muscles. "RUN THE BALL" and "THROW THE BALL" are equally as effective in tweet form as when spoken******.
Until next time--War Eagle.
*It may very well be a mirage, and we may all die of thirst within hours. Only one way to find out!
**True story: When I was writing this column, I couldn’t decide on a word so put a placeholder in that spot that said, "[SOMETHING]." Ergo, "capital letters" felt appropriate.
***If you’ve already unfollowed me for my politics, consider re-following me for my capital letter enthusiasm.
****I never get tired of pointing out that Alabama sold Pepsi products at its football games in Bryant-Denny until I was in college.
*****It's like shalom. It means peace, hello, and goodbye.
******Or screamed, as the case may be.