By now most of you should be aware of the clear bag policies around the SEC (Southeastern Conference) at football stadiums, but did you know that you also must have a clear bag to enter concerts? What was a relatively new policy around the country last year has now become common policy at many concert venues, NFL, college and high school stadiums. In fact, venues are now issuing information about their clear bag policy before an event to ensure that people are not caught off guard. [Read more…] about Two Alabama women add their signature style to clear bag stadium policy
If you’re a southern cook like me, you probably have a pantry filled with ingredients and foodstuffs to use on the fly. You know, those items that you keep on hand at all times, just in case you have to throw together something fabulous to eat with your friends and family. My list definitely includes wonton wrappers and grease.
My Christmas break usually lasts for about two weeks. It is a time for me to rest and relax with no worries about deadlines. I spend a lot of time with family and it’s typically very low key. My dogs love for me to be at home, because they get the constant attention they so lack when I am at work. This year, however, I decided to cap off the holiday season by taking my dad to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana where Auburn was playing Oklahoma on Jan. 2. Some friends that I sit beside at the Auburn home games had made plans to go to the Sugar Bowl after Auburn’s bowl game was announced. I really didn’t think much about going until I found out I could get tickets to the game cheaper through Stub Hub. Plus I was able to get a relatively reasonable price on a hotel room through Booking.com, so the decision to go was made.
It had been about five years since my last trip to New Orleans. A lot of people don’t particularly like New Orleans because of the 24/7 party atmosphere. I on the other hand, love the city, mainly because of the food, culture and music. I used to visit New Orleans every year, but since Hurricane Katrina I have not visited as often as I would like. The last time I was in New Orleans was in May 2011 around my birthday. I have always wanted to visit the city during the Christmas holidays. I’ve seen photos of the New Orleans hotels decorated for the holidays on social media, so I knew the holiday season would be beautiful. So not only was I going to the game but able to spend time in New Orleans during the holiday.
New Orleans has many historic hotels especially on Canal Street, the main street, and in the French Quarter. My dad and I arrived early in the evening on New Year’s Day. After checking into our hotel in the Garden District, we took the trolley to meet up with our friends at The Roosevelt Hotel. It was one of the hotels that I had seen on social media, the lobby was gorgeous. We had drinks in The Fountain Lounge and then walked to the French Quarter for dinner. We ended up eating at Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar on Iberville Street in the Quarter. The restaurant is known for its charbroiled oysters, and I can testify that they do melt in your mouth. Being my father’s daughter, I struck up a conversation with the table next to me and met a woman who was a cancer survivor. She was vacationing in New Orleans for New Year’s Eve before starting a PR job in Las Vegas with MGM Entertainment. It’s funny how you meet interesting people when traveling. I have vowed to keep in touch with her.
On Monday morning, my dad and I ate breakfast at the Trolley Stop Cafe in the Garden District before meeting up with our friends. (I highly recommend the restaurant!) After we caught up with them, we hung out a while at the Marriott Hotel where the Auburn football team was staying. We saw former players and cheerleaders and, of course, Aubie the Auburn mascot. My dad stayed at the hotel while my friends and I walked around the French Quarter again. We went to see the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone. Part of the experience at the bar is that it slowly turns around the room. After walking around Bourbon Street we returned to the Marriott and got ready for the game.
The game didn’t turn out exactly as I hoped it would, but the night did. After the game we ended up at the world famous Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets. The trip was fun despite Auburn’s loss. Plus I was able to spend time with my dad and my Auburn friends who have become more like family.
I have mentioned before why attending Auburn home football games is very important to me. Attending the games are important mainly because I attend the games with my dad to spend time with him, time I cherish dearly. This past Saturday, however, the I got to witness the next generation Auburn fan when my five-year-old niece attended her first game. True I my other sister’s children started the 4th generation Auburn fandom when they first attended the Auburn games years ago, however, I did not get to attend their first game because I was living out of state. It was fun for me to be with my niece last Saturday to her reaction to the game through her young eyes.
My grandparents started our Auburn football game tradition when my dad began as a freshman in 1957. I was probably 7 or 8 years old when I attended my first Auburn game. My dad coached at Opelika High School when I was a child, so it was easy for us to go to the games because Opelika was the town slightly east of Auburn. The game experience then was nothing like the game experience now. College football games are geared towards the “fan experience” making them truly an event one should take part in, if only just once.
This entry is a modified post of an entry from last year. I am grateful every year that I get to continue to take my dad to the Auburn football games.
There is no question that SEC football is a way of life in the South, watching football, SEC football in particular, seems to be a way of life for most southern women I know. This is especially for women who have grown up in the state of Alabama. In Alabama, you are born to wear either the colors of Auburn, orange and blue, or the colors of Alabama, red and white. There are no other teams or color choices.
Most people in my immediate family were born into the orange and blue side, and fall Saturdays were always spent in stadiums. I learned the cheers at an early age and my grandmother on my dad’s side was a huge fan because her sons went to Auburn. My dad is a former coach. He’s always loved sports, in fact, he played baseball at Auburn University. He spent 30 plus years coaching in public schools in Alabama. My sisters and I were exposed to sports early on, so my love of football comes honestly. I grew up going to the football fields on Friday nights for games and to the gym on Tuesdays and Fridays for basketball games. My dad began his coaching career in 1963, coaching B-Team football and B-Team track at Phillips High School in Birmingham, Alabama. He eventually coached baseball and basketball at Phillips. When I was in second grade, we moved to Opelika, Alabama where he coached basketball, tennis and golf at Opelika High. He got the job as head basketball coach at Minor High School in Birmingham after spending a few years at Opelika. While at Minor he started the Magic City Classic Basketball Tournament with his coaching colleague, Coach Willie Scoggins, at Jess Lanier High. The tournament was held during the Christmas break every year. He also started what he called the ‘Top 20 Ranking of Teams and Players in Basketball’ and was often interviewed by the media about his rankings. My dad had 47 players that went on to play in college. I know that my dad has been a great influence on a number of the players he coached because some have told me over the years. I also remember specifically the love and compassion my dad had for his players, and the help he and my mom gave to some of those players who were in need.
I really didn’t realize how big a fan I was of football until I moved out of Alabama to Washington, D.C. Most people in other parts of the country cannot relate to the fandom of the South, collegiate sports and SEC Football. Pro Football is a mainstay in most parts of the country, and I get how dedicated their fan base is, but for me adjusting and trying to enjoy the game at the pro level was not as easy as I thought it would be. Luckily for me, Washington D.C. had the Metro Auburn Club, so I joined and watched the games with fellow Auburn alums at the Crystal City Sports Pub in Arlington, VA. Just for those few hours I got to spend time with fellow fans who had the same love of Auburn football as I did. It was a welcome venture for one who was trying to adjust to living outside of the Deep South.
Once I moved home back to Alabama in 2006 I decided I was going to purchase Auburn season football tickets. For me purchasing the tickets brought back so many childhood memories: my grandmother’s love of Auburn, my dad coaching high school football and basketball and going to the Auburn games with my dad as a child. When I started buying tickets in 2006 I had not purchased them in many, many years so had to learn the process. The sole purpose of buying season tickets is to take my dad to the games. We go together to most all of the home games which has been our tradition going on 10 years now.
Some critics of college sports complain that college sports and football have gone the way of big business, however, I have a different point of view. I have personally lived and witnessed how sports changed the lives of those athletes my dad coached and helped. It means a lot when you care enough for your students to help them grow and prosper. He did and does. My dad impacted and changed lives of many young people throughout his life and years of coaching. Hopefully that is a trait I have inherited. Football is not only a southern tradition, it’s a family tradition a tradition, I get to enjoy every fall with my dad.