“All Auburn, all in.” This cry could be heard ringing from every corner of Jordan Hare stadium as close to 78,000 people attended the National Championship Celebration. The excitement and anticipation could only be matched by that of the actual game that took place in Arizona on January 10, 2011.
Fans began lining up as early as eight a.m. and by the time the gates opened, the lines stretched farther than any typical football Saturday in Auburn. When the clock struck 11, the lines quickly shrunk as fans raced to find the best seats before the celebration began.
While we waited for the next two hours, the history making championship game played on the jumbotron for all to see. The fans in the stadium cheered for each tackle, turnover, and touchdown as if it was the first time they had seen it. The spirit and energy in the stadium, particularly the student section, spoke for the Auburn family’s dedication.
When coach Gene Chizik made his way to the podium later on during the program, he addressed the spirit of the fans. “You aren’t kinda, sorta, maybe. You are the best fans in the country.” The spirit of Auburn was a trending topic, spoken about by almost all of the speakers that afternoon. David Housel, the former athletic director for Auburn University, described the Auburn spirit as something “you can’t know about until you’ve tasted it and been a part of it. Once you’ve tasted it, once you’ve been an Auburn Tiger, you can never go back.”
When Pedro and Flavia from Londrina ,Brazil were asked what they thought of the entire experience, they had no words. The only words they had were surreal and incredible This being their first experience in the United States, football was a new concept to them.They couldn’t believe that so many fans would gather in one place, wearing the same color for a victory celebration, let alone an actual football game.
Seeing the day through their eyes, the reality of it set it. The fans came from every background, from every town, city and village to join with each other in celebration. There is no one way to describe the spirit on Saturday other than to describe the people who helped make it what it was. The Auburn family rises above the many others and stands alone in spirit of unity. As Housel suggested, I’ve tasted and been a part of it and I’m never going back.