Tag Archives: Iron Bowl

Home for the Big Games

Rhett's BellLast year I was not in Starkville, Mississippi for the Egg Bowl and wasn’t watching the Iron Bowl on my couch in Huntsville, Alabama.  I was in Baku, Azerbaijan with a nasty sinus infection.  In recent years, I have lived vicariously through the successes of both Alabama and Auburn nationally as I cheered proudly for the Bulldogs to win all they can each year but most importantly to beat “the school up north”.  Today, I will be watching both games in the same time zone as the games are being played.  But first, I wanted to reflect just a bit on where I was last year when Bo Wallace fumbled and the famous Kick Six happened.

First, it was Thanksgiving Day in the United States and Egg Bowl day in Mississippi.  I was ten hours ahead of Mississippi time and watching the game on my iPad with help of an app called Hide My Ass.  I traveled to Baku with my cow bell but mine wasn’t the important bell. My nephew Rhett’s cow bell has never seen Ole Miss beat Mississippi State.  Each and every Egg Bowl where Rhett and his cow bell have attended, the Bulldogs have won!  I have included the photo which was texted to me by Walt after last year’s game.  I was tucked away in my room at the Excelsior Hotel when the game was winding down and headed into overtime.  I felt like State would lose in OT.  I am sure the final play was over minutes before I saw it in Baku, however as soon as I saw Bo Wallace fumble the football, I grabbed my cow bell and ran around my room and down the hall of the 5 Star hotel ringing it loudly.  I could feel the victory on the other side of the planet!  Too bad the bar was closed, I would have bought the house a round!  They wouldn’t have a chance to kick me out of the hotel, because I moved to another hotel the very next morning.

Two days after Thanksgiving the Iron Bowl was held on the campus of Auburn University.  Again I was watching the game with help from technology to hide my IP address.  It was more difficult with my step down in hotels and I kept falling asleep. Each time I would wake up to check the game, Auburn was losing.  Finally, I turned off the live streaming feeling as if Auburn’s luck ran out after their Hail Mary pass against Georgia the week before.  I rolled over in my bed knowing that Alabama would win and eventually play for the National Championship.  The football gods had a different plan.  Anything can happen during an Iron Bowl with time still on the clock.  With one second left to play, the improbable happened when a missed field goal was returned by Chris Davis for a touchdown.  While Auburn fans and students flooded the field in Auburn my phone erupted in Baku with text messages and FaceTime calls from the friends.  I heard form people who I didn’t speak to on a regular basis when I was in the states much less while I was in Azerbaijan.  I didn’t even know what had happened except Auburn had won!  I quickly went to YouTube where within minutes Vern & Gary’s call had been uploaded.  I watched in astonishment as Nick Sabam and Alabama didn’t really know what had happened either!  Auburn was headed to the SEC Championship and eventually a face off with Florida State.

WOW! Two great endings to a game within two days of each other and I was around the world to experience it all.  Today, I have heard the ESPN Game Day crew, as well as Tim Tebow & the SEC Nation crew say “where were you when…”, I was in Baku!  I wouldn’t change that at all.  However, being away last year has made me more thankful for being at home today.  This year MSU is in the mix of a playoff berth but we will need a win today in Oxford and some help from Auburn.  Today, I don’t have to live vicariously through an Alabama football team or the internet.  I am home to watch the drama unfold on live HDTV.  I love SEC football and no matter what happens, I am proud of the Bulldogs!  Hail State & War Eagle!

And just for kicks… Go Gators!

Game Day Anniversary

As a kid I remember watching football on rivalry weekend. Mississippi’s big rivalry is the Egg Bowl where Mississippi State faces Ole Miss for the battle of the golden egg trophy. My father went to State and I have cheered for them as a little pup. My memories as a kid in Mississippi recall there being only one rivalry bigger than the Egg Bowl. That being the neighboring state’s rivalry, the Iron Bowl. I didn’t know how big the Iron Bowl truly was until I lived in Alabama.

I didn’t really ever have a favorite team in the Iron Bowl as a kid. I remember hating Alabama because they always beat up on the Bulldogs. Auburn was another cow college like Mississippi State and they had Bo Jackson. When I was a young teen the only Mississippi school that could beat Alabama or Auburn was Southern Miss led by Brett Farve. So I was neutral in the Iron Bowl growing up. Some years I would pull for Auburn and some years for Bama. I never knew that I would end up living in Alabama nor could I imagine marrying an Alabama alum.

It wasn’t by chance that is was my first Iron Bowl. Chris and I have made a tradition of giving traditional gifts as anniversary presents. This year the suitable gift for an Alabama alum was tickets to the Iron Bowl. All Iron Bowls are important in the state of Alabama, but this year, the 75th Anniversary Iron Bowl, was a mega showdown between reigning BCS National Title champ Alabama and undefeated BCS hopeful Auburn, a probable Heisman for Auburn in Cam Newton and a Heisman winner for Alabama with Mark Ingram, and the simple fact that Alabama and Auburn hates one another. I guess I was lucky that my first Iron Bowl was such a big game.

Simply the spectacle of it all was amazing to watch. There is no other colors that clash more than crimson with white and orange with blue. Alabama and Auburn fans hate one another. There were 200 extra security guards hired just for this event. Lebron James returning to Cleveland doesn’t even compare. The pregame experience is epic where some 100,000 fans cry at the crackly audio of Bear Bryant. It is a little tacky, however, when Bama fans cheer “Roll Tide” after the team’s first down like a tent revival congregation shouting “Amen.” I haven’t even been to another Iron Bowl or even a SEC game at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare to compare the Bryant-Denny experience. But from the eagle flying and hospitality at Auburn I suggest a visit to Auburn’s version of the Iron Bowl. But my husband won’t take me to “that (damn) cow college at the other side of the state.” Yet another example of how all Bama fans refers back to “the Bear.”

I think of all the great football, baseball, and other sporting events I have been to in my life. This Iron Bowl will have to rank up there with the top events. Some people have a bucket list with various things they want to do before they die. I have a sports bucket list and going to an Iron Bowl is on it. I was able to see a game at Yankee Stadium before they closed it. Last year, I visited the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. I have been to NFL and NBA playoff games and several motor sports events, including the Indy 500. Some of my favorite sporting events have been in Starkville, Mississippi or in a baseball park. And I am here to say, if you love college football you should try to see an Iron Bowl in your lifetime.