Rhetoric and Research
MWF 2:00- 2:50
Dr. Aaron Adams
“The Culture of Auburn University Football”
To the majority of America, Auburn University Football is just a sport. To the thousands of Auburn Tigers fans worldwide, it is so much more than that. Tim Stanfield describes it as “…more than a game…it’s a passion” (Stanfield et al. 61). The culture surrounding Auburn Tigers football is a family and tight-knit community. As Pat Dye, past coach of the Auburn Tigers puts it, “We are close here, and that is part of what it means to be a Tiger” (Glier xii). There are generations of Tigers fans, “family” traditions, and the support and encouragement of a family behind every Tiger out there playing. To be a part of this family you don’t have to a part of the team because it includes the teams, the students, worldwide fans, and the village of Auburn, Alabama also. The love and passion for Auburn University is often passed down from parent to child. Many families have had generation after generation attend Auburn and graduate. Mary Claire Janiga tells of her family involvement in Auburn in the story “War Eagle Lineage.” She states, “A year after I started school, my sister joined me at Auburn, along with five cousins” (Stanfield et al. 95). Tim Stanfield recounts about his father, “My father had a very clear view about how he wanted to raise his sons. You need to know, up front, that this view was slightly tainted orange and blue, considering the fact that he graduated from there in 1969” (Stanfield et al. 59). Growing up in the state of Alabama, you are forced to choose a side between the University of Alabama and Auburn University at a very young age. Beginning in 1893, The Iron Bowl has been referred to as the biggest sports rivalry nationwide. In the film Roll Tide War Eagle, Cam Newton, former Auburn quarterback, states, “You either have to be crimson or orange and blue.” Greg McElroy, former Alabama quarterback, adds, “And if you don’t pick either one then they both hate you” (Roll Tide War Eagle). Experiencing this first hand, I have seen this turn from a rivalry to an all out war. There is true hatred in this rivalry. No matter where you go in the state of Alabama, you can be sure to see or hear the battle cries of “War Eagle!” or “Roll Tide!” Just hearing those two words invokes great amounts of passion within fans statewide. The Auburn University football is a program built on tradition and history. According to www.auburntigers.com, the oldest football rivalry in the south began on February 20, 1892, when Auburn University played the University of Georgia. This rivalry has continued on every year except 1943 when Auburn did not have a football team due to World War II. Currently Auburn is leading the rivalry with 52-48-8. This is only one example of the history of championships at Auburn University. Another tradition is the Tiger Walk. This is one of the many ways Auburn fans rally around the players to show them support and encouragement. This event happens two hours prior to every game, whether at home or on the road. It began in the 1960’s when Auburn players would make the walk from Sewell Hall to the stadium (www.auburntigers.com) Thousands of fans line the sides of the Auburn Tigers’ football team and cheer them on. One Auburn football player described it as this, “ You are focused on the game…of course…but you are definitely feeding off the emotion of the fans…your adrenaline is so high that you feel like you could run through a brick wall or pick up a car” (Stanfield et al 27) Ivan Maisel describes it like this in his account of the Tiger Walk, “The Auburn fans roared, their eyes glazed with a mixture of fervor, pride, passion, and perhaps a bit of Jack Daniels” (Woodbery 64). Aubie, Auburn University’s mascot, is greatly loved by all Auburn fans. He adorns t-shirts, posters, plates, and anything else you could imagine. Aubie has been around for over 30 years and you can...