ALABAMA (WIAT) — The heart of the SEC runs through the great state of Alabama. Whether it is in Tuscaloosa or in Auburn, nothing underscores the football rivalry of the Iron Bowl.
I’ve got to be honest with you, I’m not from Alabama at all, I’m from Baltimore, Maryland, so for me, NFL rules all, GO RAVENS!
However, in coming to “God’s Country,” the people here ask you to pick a side and somehow by the grace of God I’ve remained neutral.
That is, until I went to both of these schools on game day and simply interacted with fans while dressed up as the rival school.
Going in, it was terrifying being the eye sore to thousands of people, but I got a great mixture of responses, including those who questioned my sense of directions.
I found myself in the middle of not only divided houses, but relationship issues too. One woman who was an Alabama fan said she and her boyfriend, who’s an Auburn fan, needed therapy at times because of the rivalry.
At least four months out of the year here in Alabama, football Saturdays in Tuscaloosa and Auburn are unmatched, but the trash talk – that’s all year around.
As I put on my Auburn shirt and hat in the midst of Crimson Tide fans, I was forced to quickly think of all the Auburn references I knew, which weren’t many besides “war eagle” and something about getting on the “Gus Bus.”
As I paraded through Tuscaloosa’s tailgates, I got a series of side eyes and smirks from Alabama fans who wondered what the hell I was doing at their game day.
While some boo’d me and other asked me if I was lost, there were some who gave in and gave me high fives and even a “Roll Eagle,” which I still don’t know how I feel about that.
I asked one Alabama student, why does she feel like Auburn fans have a chip on their shoulder and she said, “because they don’t win football games,” and then I asked why would they envy Alabama, her response: “I mean look at this place, and they’re like on a farm?”
On that note, I headed to Auburn to dress up as an Alabama fan, and overall it was a very warm environment, I got a lot of smack for wearing Alabama gear because they felt I was “a band waggoner, like most Crimson Tides fans,” one Auburn fan said.
Another responded to the criticism of an Alabama fan about how Auburn fans have a chip on their shoulder, “we’re not classy compared to them? That’s funny,” she said.
“They’re obnoxious, they’re full of it, they’re just a little too cocky about it and I think that’s going to get them in trouble,” the Auburn fan continued.
I even ran into a group of 10 year olds who pressed me for wearing my Alabama gear and even asked me tough questions that I simply could not answer, “why did Alabama fans poison our trees,” the young boy said.
Quite an awkward position to be in I must say, but it was clear that was a sore subject for War Eagle fans just as the “Kick 6” was for Crimson Tide fans.
Believe it or not both sides have a lot of love for each other, at least until the Iron Bowl. Tune in to CBS42 to watch Iron Bowl 2016 on November 26.