78,000 people gathered at Jordan-Hare Stadium on January 10,2011 to celebrate Auburn University football’s success of winning the 2010 BCS National Championship. Those 78,000 people, including myself, are all one big family. That family is unique, strong and faithful. That family is my Auburn Family. I call it my Auburn Family because I worked as a student athletic trainer this football season and it turned into more than a job.
It was chilly and windy, but sunny and bright. The stage was set up with each chair marked specifically for each player, coach and special guest. I had the privilege of sitting right in front of the stage along with other football staff members and recruits. It felt like game day and the Auburn spirit was alive.
The band and cheerleaders cranked up to get the stadium buzzing. The players were announced individually in numerical order. The seniors were called out separately at the end. For each senior that moment was special. Special not only because of the celebration at hand, but special because it was the last time their name would be called out as an Auburn University football player.
Our recently sworn in Governor, Dr. Bentley, was one of the first to speak. Dr. Bentley is ironically a University of Alabama graduate and a Tuscaloosa resident. Dr. Bentley stated loud and proud that he was “ALL IN!” for Auburn. He explained how honored he was to be Governor of a state with two back to back National Championship winners and two back to back Heisman Trophy winners. Yes, we gave Alabama the tiny bit of honor they wanted.
Multiple speakers took turns. Former players and coaches, BCS bowl game representatives, Dr. Jay Gouge and Athletic Director Jay Jacobs. Individual trophy presentations were a huge part of the celebration’s process.
Seniors Lee Ziemba and Kodi Burns spoke after the trophy presentations. However, one important item was missing from the awards table. Of course it was the 12-pound crystal ball. The National Championship trophy was last, but not least and led Coach Gene Chizik to give his final words.
Coach Chizik reminded the crowd of who works behind the scenes of Auburn Football. Coach’s wives and kids, equipment staff, sports medicine staff, student workers, Tigerette and Tiger Hosts and many more. Team unity was a major point. Their team unity is something that only they have and it can’t be taken away from them. It brought them through each practice, game and adverse situation. As I sat amongst the other Athletic Department staff, I felt the appreciation of my hard work all season.
The BCS National Championship celebration gave me the opportunity to do something a select few only do. Tiger Walk is an Auburn tradition that most Auburn fans take to heart. My dream came true Saturday when I got to walk through Tiger Walk after the celebration. I’ve never said “War Eagle” so many times in a row, or felt that much Auburn love at one time. It’s a moment I can’t ever replace and a moment I can’t ever relive. I will cherish my Tiger Walk experience forever.
This season has been remarkable, unbelievable and amazing. The BCS National Championship celebration that was held on Saturday concluded that perfect season. I’m reminded all the time of how blessed I am to have the job that I have and the moments that make my job worth it. My Auburn Family is what makes it all worth it, and the Auburn Family was “ALL IN” at the BCS National Championship celebration!