Tag Archives: Arkansas

… from the West Texas observatory – Arkansas

In retreating to the scriptures this morning, I came upon a stat that put things in perspective:

With the headless, mutant hate child sprung from a guru’s loins and starved in the withered womb of the athletic complex, Auburn gained 53 yards in the first half yesterday – only eight yards more than the 1893 Tigers gained against Alabama with the Flying Wedge in the opening possession of the first Iron Bowl. Oh Foy, oh McKissick… oh Shackelford, Dorsey and Buckalew. Oh Burns, oh Blackmon, oh Lester, Todd and Tate! Retrieve thy tally-ho of yore!

These are the days when you hate yourself for ever weighting the faith of your inner man with a blog’s obligations. I want to write well. I want to pour it all out in genius prose, fix everything with a poem. But right, right, right, I haven’t the time.

Instead, I quoth the Media Guide:

…..We’ve got a choice: get out and push, or fair-weather it over somewhere else. There’s no room for booing. We’re stuck with what we’ve got, and we’ve got to get behind the team and help them out. There’s no money to throw at yet another quick fix. Only hard work, and time, will fix our current woes.

…..War Eagle! It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger! Let’s get behind our team, and cheer them on, no matter what! It’ll get better. Our players know we’ve got their back.

War Eagle, till I die!

(And beat the hell out of Tuscaloosa.)

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First sickening thought.

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McSomethin’…. McRibs!

By J. Henderson

My daughter woke up screaming just before Arkansas scored their touchdown. My wife ran back there, my mom too, she was in town with my brother. But she wanted Daddy. It wasn’t the best of timing, of course, but at the same time, as the nitty turned to gritty on TV, I calmly sat back into the couch cushions and held and “War Eagle’d” my little girl with confidence. My Dad called from the game, he was their with my grandfather, nosebleed. I heard the “Soooies” and all that and I smiled inside at the thought of the Hogs soon-breaking hearts ’cause those Hogs were playing dirty. (I especially love Freddie Fairchild’s ironic insta-karma: after slinging Kodi “they’re booing him because he’s from Arkansas” Burns to the turf a mile out of bounds, Fairchild gloats himself into a Arkansas-bred brick wall named Lee Ziemba and falls down himself.)

billings-gets-punched.JPGAnd for that, I knew they’d lose. I also knew that they would lose because they were playing against the Auburn Tigers.

Sure, we were technically losing at that point, and sure, we should have beaten them by three touchdowns and sure, I’m… intrigued… by Tuberville’s post-game comments about his executive decision regarding strategy (… intrigued because it works. I was driving my brother up to Toomer’s and turned the radio up just in time to hear Coach Tuberville say something to the effect of “Yeah, if we’d opened it up a little more, we probably would have won by 14…” I got out of the car, shut the door, looked toward the whitening Corner, back to the radio inside the dark car, then back to the Corner and said, “he just said that didn’t he, how about that…”)

But I still knew we were going to win from the get-go – even cellularly doused with the rabid slobber of Fayetteville’s finest, I knew we were fine. You could feel it in the time of possession, read it in Ben Tate’s body language. tate-stiff-arm.JPGAnd Foot Lauderdale would swig his coffee, kiss his wife and head out the door to Heroes Inc. yet again, like clockwork. Missed two already? I wasn’t worried. Not with that kid. Still, when Dad asked if I wanted to stay on with him through the kick, I said, nah, enough of that, I’ll call you at Toomer’s. And there he goes, kick is up, it’s good, put the baby back down. Night baby, War Eagle.

Byrum again, Cox again, Tuberville again, Borges again, Muschamp for Heisman. War Eagle. I’m so proud of these guys, this team.

We are going to pick LSU apart…. stay tuned.

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Dateline: Samford Ave. – Auburn Man Sees, Hears Vision of Score

Samford Ave. was the cobbled canvas on which the Auburn Spirit this afternoon painted a masterpiece. A Rockwell, a Picasso, a Pollock, a Magic Eye in which J. Henderson instantly perceived the final score of this weekend’s game against Arkansas. Henderson, an Auburn resident, was standing near the corner of Samford and Gay, in the door of the Gnu’s Room, the greatest used bookstore in America today — “a real, live, bitchin’ bookstore.” Henderson was talking with Bill Sherling, local hero, with a poster of Sullivan and Beasley rolled tightly in his fist. He said he heard shouts, voices, the scorching patriotism of Auburn young.

Henderson said he stepped out onto the sidewalk into the sun. There they were, crossing Gay St., on their way to the paradise of Friday night. They were like ants, they were black, they were white, they were ants with backpacks, marching and bobbing as if instructed by a Sesame Street camera crew. Cars stopped, people smiled and called their friends. And this was the chorus of their song, according to Henderson, their statement to the Earth:

“It’s Great, To Be, an AUUUUBURN TIger, I said It’s Great, To Be, an AUUUUBURN TIger…”

“Seriously, I saw it all… t’was a vision,” Henderson said.

Henderson claims to have seen a little boy stop in the crosswalk and turn towards him.

“Hey, Hey… did you heeeaaar?” the boy shouted.

“What’s that, son?,” Henderson replied.

“Auburn 42, Arkansas 13!!”

“I told him, ‘alright, little fella! War Eagle, little fella!'” Henderson said, adding, “I’m sorry, Arkansas, I just don’t think it’s in the cards…”

Auburn 42 – Arkansas 13.

War Damn Eagle.

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Australian Butter, Reid McMilion, and other emotional miscellany surrounding the Arkansas game of ’93.

By J. Henderson

Here is a strange story appropriate for the week of the Arkansas game.

The year? 1993. The new restaurant that had Birmingham hoppin’? Outback Steakhouse. It was late October on Hwy 31. A Friday Night dream!

It was also my great grandfather’s last birthday, last he would celebrate rather. I was in high school, a freshman. I ordered a steak and a baked potato and ate free food with family under lights so very dim and goofed off with my cousin. When it came time for the potato, I made a face because something didn’t taste right. I asked the waiter, “is there some sort of Australian butter on here?” He said it was sour cream. It was my first taste of the stuff.

The next day was Reid McMilion’s first taste of Australian butter, too, if by Australian butter you mean hard-core glory. And I do. I mean, he’d always been there, always been ready, but we called on him in a close one, 31-21, and he answered with a stoic roar. He was a senior and going freaking bald. He’s one of my all-time faves and that game is the reason why. Just 12 carries, by my heart was riding piggy back the whole time, if you know I mean.

I was by myself in the house, alone, no one with me but the Lord. It was cold outside. It was gray. There would be no warmth from the glow of the TV because the TV wasn’t going to be on because the Tigers were kept from television that year by the efforts of the traitor Ramsey. No matter, we ruled via radio. (“We weren’t seen, but we were heard!” read the bumper stickers.) I yanked my mom’s doggie bag out of the fridge, threw cold steak and potato into the microwave, took it back out and headed downstairs. And then I turned on the radio and I listened to the immortal Jim Fyffe diagram every step of 6’0, 220 lb Reid’s 91 yards of workhorse grandeur. Head down, legs up, smash them in the face until you see blood in the snow. Make cherry ice-cream out of it, eat it up. Spit it out. Win the game, let the angels quiver in the waves of your power! Yes, it was snowing up in Fayetteville the day before Halloween and thanks to Jim, I might as well have been there to see it fall. It is one of the more vivid memories of my life, listening to that game.

But Reid’s heroics apparently were peripheral to the real secret behind that particular Auburn victory, a crucial road win that shot the Tigers even further down the fated 11-0 path of undefeatedness, at least according to former Auburn defensive end Ace Atkins. And no, it has nothing to do with a half-time inspiration from young Coach Bowden.

Atkins is a writer, and actually a teacher at Ole Miss these days. He’s a prominent and skilled purveyor of that wonderful genre known as ‘southern noir.’ His dad, Billy Atkins, was a senior star on the 1957 Auburn team that won the national title, which makes them the only Auburn father and son pair to both play on undefeated teams. I imagine they could easily be the only such duo in the entire history of the game.

Here is a picture of Atkins 4th tackle in 1993.

 

ace-atkins.jpg

 

A “Sports Illustrated” piece on the game credits a pep-talk from Bowden about somebody stepping up to make a big play as the fire that got into the team’s blood, as well as some talk about Eskimos having to work all day at the Alaskan pipeline from secondary coach Jack Hines, who had a master’s degree in psychology. otis-mounds.jpgBut no! says Atkins, that wasn’t it at all. Atkins lays it all at the mouth of Otis Mounds, the Auburn safety with the troubled past who made national headlines while a redshirt freshman in 1990 for being paged to the playing field from the stands during the opening game of the season against Fullerton State. 8 years later, he would get the job as LL Cool J’s stunt-double on the set of the movie Any Given Sunday.

“It’s funny how the truth vs. the myth is always confused in football stories,” Atkins said.

“Someone told me… that it’s a famous story of how Terry Bowden came to the locker room at the Arkansas game and said you guys can be 8-1 or 9-0. Or something like that. Anyway, it’s told as that being the turning point of that game.”

“Not true.”

“The turning point came when we had been berated the entire first half by the Arkansas homecoming queen — yep, we were so bad in ’92, we were picked as homecoming — and finally defensive back Otis Mounds had had enough,” Atkins said.

And get this – the girl’s name? The Homecoming Queen’s name? Kym Polite. Kym Polite. She was a varsity cheerleader. And she blew it for her team because Otis Mounds had had enough.

“He turned around to the young lady – decked out in a fur coat and tiara – and yelled at her in the third quarter ‘Shut up, bitch.’”

“Now, that is what made the whole sideline pickup and we won the game. The girl was trying to get down to the field to slap Otis but she was held back by her court, her tiara falling off her head.”

“True tale,” Atkins said.

War Eagle! Let’s channel the spirit of McMilion and give’em hell! No Rules! Just Right! Shut up, Arkansas!

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