Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Reflections on Auburn: Part 2

Part 1 is here.

We came to Auburn from the south, thinking it would be fun to take back roads rather than the interstate. We had a good time, but ultimately it was more depressing than fun. I realize someone from Florida commenting on the sadness of Alabama is risking a diagnoses of pot-kettle-black syndrome, but since I was born in Alabama and raised in Florida I have right to criticize both states (or it makes me a huge redneck). On the trip through Alabama, I saw countless homeless people (including one brushing his dentures in a gas station bathroom), endless cotton fields, more roadkill than I could keep up with counting, a "Drifter's Lounge," and a campaign billboard that said "Please vote for my Paw Paw." Plus, on the way back, we drove for over an hour without seeing a single street light or gas station, which was pretty amazing. Even the backwoods areas outside of Gainesville have all night gas stations.

While rural Alabama is a culture shock, Auburn itself is a great little town. Very pretty with lots of nice houses. Most of the people were pleasant and good hosts. The campus itself reminded me a lot of UF, but without the office park feel. I had a great time. I ate a little place called "Big Blue," which served cold beer and these crazy bagel chips that were delicious.

As nice as the town, the people and the campus were, with one exception,* the stadium itself was a huge disappointment. It's built like an NFL stadium; very wide and open. As a result, the place is not very loud. It was a night game, and in my extremely biased opinion I felt was more quiet than most day games at the Swamp. For most of the game, it was much more quiet than the Swamp. Then, to top off a relatively quiet crowd, they pump in rock music. Hearing Ozzy Osbourne come over the speakers is not something I ever expected at a College Game. Save that shit for the NFL. In College, the teams have live bands that follow them around, use them. When the rock music first came on, I was literally in shock. I could not believe it. If I wanted a prepackaged, unauthentic football experience, I would have driven to an NFL city.

Needless to say, I was let down. I thought all SEC venues were supposed to be impressive experiences, but Jordan-Hare was not.

*Exception: The eagle flying in was amazing. He gave me goosebumps. Florida obviously needs to rip this tradition off and have a huge bull gator charge into the stadium at the beginning of the game! If I am ever capable of donating millions to the school, I will have an Alligator Habitat installed near the stadium and get UF a real, live Albert.

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