Auburn football: Best place to report from inside Jordan-Hare Stadium
SEC Country wants to tackle the best questions from Auburn football and basketball fans. Look for our Auburn Question of the Day most weekdays. Go here to see all of our previous answers.
Where was your favorite place to sit/work when you were covering Auburn?
Tim S. — Facebook
AUBURN, Ala. — As many of you may know, news broke this week that SEC Country’s last day will be June 30. That means my time of covering Auburn football is coming to a close. It also means that the coming weeks will be a chance to reflect and offer a slightly different perspective on all things Auburn football.
I’ll start with this question about being inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Now, I haven’t been fortunate enough to visit all the SEC stadiums. I have family from Knoxville, Tenn., and from Mississippi in Oxford and Starkville. I have covered games inside Tiger Stadium and Bryant-Denny Stadium. That being said, I haven’t had many bad days as a media professional on the Plains.
A typical day of football coverage typically starts and ends — hours after the stadium lights have been turned off — in the press box. It was always, for the most part, a comfortable place to be. Next season there will be a new area for media. I was fortunate enough to sit right at the 50-yard line for most games, in an open-air press box. I enjoyed my time up high, but it wasn’t exactly my favorite place to be.
With about five minutes left remaining in games, media members are permitted field access. That was always fun, too. I was caught in the chaotic mob that stormed the field after taking down Alabama and chased Tray Matthews around for a story I was working on after the Tigers toppled then-No. 1 ranked Georgia. I’ve got a lot of great memories of meeting former players and media personalities. Auburn people are just good people in general, and fortunately part of my job for the last two years has been to interact with them.
Still, the best part of the day for me was always being on the field during the pregame festivities. That means warmups, the band taking the field and performing, player introductions and Spirit circling for a pregame flight. I’m standing just out of the frame in several pictures where the team is running out of the tunnel. Getting to do those things were undoubtedly some of the coolest moments in my media career, regardless of my loyalties.
Someone once told me that the best atmosphere in college football changes weekly. It’s not a set location, but simply where the best games are being played. Last November I got to watch two of the best games in a span of three weeks. While the celebration was fun and the games were thrilling, the best part was watching athletes prepare for those games.
As a former athlete, there’s always been something to me about warmups. Players take different approaches to pregame. Some joke. Others dance. Many are so intense that they don’t even notice all the fanfare. Getting to see talented players in their element, not knowing exactly what’s going to happen in the coming hours — there’s something almost mystical about it.
The 2013 season changed everything for Auburn, though. At any given home game there’s always the sense that an incredible, even historic, moment is a second away because, well, it very well could be. I’m not suggesting to sneak on the sidelines during pregame warmups or anything, but if ever given the chance, that’s certainly where you want to be.