So, now that you’ve pretty much gotten a good idea of the general history of Auburn — the town, the school, the team, defining moments, etc. — it’s time to get a deeper understanding of some its people, told by those people, for you people. In Part III of our Summer Reading List series, we include a couple of tell-alls, penned by some figures who’ve spent a good portion of their lives dedicated to Auburn. If there’s time before Game of Thrones begins tonight, I encourage you to check these out and whet your appetite for the true inside information.
FROM INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM
A TIGER’S WALK: MEMOIRS OF AN AUBURN FOOTBALL PLAYER
Now, I’m sure most of you have probably picked up this book or at least heard of it. For those that don’t know, Rob Pate played at Auburn from 1997-2000, book-ending his career with two trips to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. However, this book covers so much more than just the play on the field. Pate describes the recruiting process and the changeover from playing for Terry Bowden onward to the installment of a new mindset by Tommy Tuberville.
In between all of that, Pate tells of being on the field as Ed Scissum fumbled to set Auburn up in the 1997 Iron Bowl, trying to his impress his new teammates as he came to Auburn a wide-eyed freshman, learning and playing under Bill Oliver, and dealing with the rigors of Yoxercise. If you want to hear the thoughts of an actual college football player on the issue of stipends and scholarships, or the burnout caused by a grueling workout/study/social life balance, it’s all here in this book. To go further, Rob Pate was also working on starting a family, as he was engaged or married during most of this process.
It’s a fascinating and easy read with many little asides and nuggets that you’ll find hilarious, emotional, exciting, and flat-out interesting. It’s a true inside look at the life of a college football player in the SEC.
FROM INSIDE THE BROADCAST BOOTH
TOUCHDOWN AUBURN: CARRYING ON THE TRADITION OF THE AUBURN TIGERS
When I was in 9th grade, I remember watching the clip of Cadillac Williams’ opening-play touchdown in the 2003 Iron Bowl over and over again so that I could memorize Rod Bramblett’s famous “Go Crazy, Cadillac!” call. There were a couple of embarrassing moments when I would be in the laundry room folding shirts screaming at the top of my lungs and my dad would walk in. Suffice to say, this book is one that I devoured from the first day that I got my hands on it.
Rod Bramblett was named Auburn’s lead play-by-play voice after the death of Jim Fyffe in 2003, and he had a tough gig for sure in filling the microphone left behind by Fyffe. Touchdown Auburn covers Rod’s career behind the mic for Auburn baseball (and everything before that), to his first years in the booth for football and basketball, and includes every moment you’d want to hear about in between. Having worked for the Auburn Radio Network in years past, I was privileged enough to get to know Rod and myself be a part of his career and some of the now-famous calls mentioned in the book.
Many of his “teases” leading up to kickoff are transcribed completely (including all of them from the magical 2010 season), so you’re taken back to the moments leading up to kickoff of some of Auburn’s biggest games ever. In addition, his famous calls are completely transcribed as well. From David Ross to Chris Davis, you’ll get to read every word and imagine the roar of the crowd behind the voice, welling up to complete the memory.
Over the years, you get to know your school’s long-standing radio voice as a friend and an authority, and Rod’s no different. Whether you’ve actually met the man behind the mic or not, this book gives a ton more insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a typical Auburn athletics broadcast (although it neglects to mention Rod singing along with the Golden Flake commercials during crucial moments of key football games).
Keep reading, War Eagle!