Auburn football: What makes covering the Tigers different
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What will you miss most about covering Auburn football for SEC Country?
Connor R. — Facebook
AUBURN, Ala. — Several people have asked me what I will miss most about covering Auburn football for SEC Country next season, and my answer has developed a bit over the last couple of weeks.
My initial response was that I’ll miss the passion. Those who haven’t lived outside of Alabama think they know — but don’t truly comprehend — how much the Southeastern Conference, and Auburn specifically, truly is a different extreme. The fan base’s loyalty is not something to take lightly. Watching the quiet, village-like town morph into the beast it becomes on game days in the fall is incredible, as is enduring the relative silence that takes over when the season ends.
In two years with SEC Country, I’ve had the chance to attend Iron Bowls inside Bryant-Denny Stadium and at Jordan-Hare. There were two different outcomes and two unique celebrations. Both were among some of the most passionate I’ve seen in sports. As previously mentioned, my deep dive into the tradition of Toomer’s Corner probably is the favorite story I’ve ever worked on.
I’m going to stick to sports and football specifically, because if I start talking about coworkers I’ve had the pleasure of working with this article will take another tone.
I will, however, mention that both of my direct colleagues — Benjamin Wolk and Justin Ferguson — are some of the most professional, talented and wonderful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know. They will end up doing awesome things whether it involves covering Auburn, covering college football or doing something else entirely (follow them to see what’s next).
Still, there’s more to it than just passion. For me, covering Auburn has meant getting to cover outstanding student-athletes and young people. As a former athlete, I feel like I understood more than some the mental and emotional struggles of playing a Division I sport.
I’m not sure anyone understands what kind of pressure college athletes are under. Make whatever argument you want for how much easier things are today than for kids 20 years ago. We’ll agree to disagree. These young adults have to manage more than most people could handle. In some ways they have it made, sure. Yet very few things will ever seem hard after playing a sport in college.
Auburn players typically have an underdog mentality, which separates them as well. There’s something about watching a player driven by those who underestimate them. It’s just more fun. Maybe that’s because I’m more than familiar with the feeling myself.
The people you watch on television or from the stands on Saturday are out to win. They also are working to find their purpose and create a future for themselves. A lot of them want to positively impact their communities. They’ll live life with a strong desire to make their families, coaches and fans proud. So even with limited access at times, the thing I’ll miss the most is my front-row seat to interact with Auburn athletes.