Up & Down Commerce St. – Aug. 21

Published 4:34 pm Monday, August 23, 2010

We thought Auburn fan day would be fun so we carted ourselves off to the Loveliest Village on the Plains Sunday afternoon and were greeted with a throng of 8,500 souls slowly jostling into Auburn Arena.

It was not the best of situations, to put it lightly.

Two lines formed outside, one to meet and greet Auburn coach Gene Chizik who lurked somewhere in the arena’s lower levels, while the other entered through the basketball team’s practice courts. Here, there was Aubie, the soccer team, men’s and women’s basketball teams, the AU sports network, and the Tiger cheerleaders (hello, Caroline Dunklin). The floor was crowded with folks and a pile of them was packed in one corner at the exit to the upper arena. That’s where the football players were, three levels up, and the people at that exit were the end of the line.

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It took two hours to move from the ground up. Three sets of stairs all jammed with adults and children holding helmets, footballs and posters for the players to sign.

Once we made it to the top, we had to choose whether or not we wanted to see the offensive players or the defensive players. We would have loved to greet Kenneth “Big C” Carter in the orange and blue, but we chose offense because we wanted to get a look at new quarterback Cameron Newton. About halfway to actually getting to meet the players, it was announced: “Attention Tiger Fans…Fan Day will end in 10 minutes, 10 minutes…”

Since we actually didn’t want an autograph from the players, but mostly snapshots, we skirted around the crowd and at 4 p.m. the players started leaving, (which doesn’t mean they actually got up and left – a number of them still stood around and signed autographs and posed for pictures. We were able to have one made with phenom wide receiver freshman Trovon Reed. As well as an “odd” picture with offensive lineman Lee Ziemba.)

Two things we learned: (1) our sense of smell is even more sensitive in a crowd and (2) the maximum capacity in an Auburn Arena stairwell is 62 people, give or take a few hundred.

But, anyway, bad planning on the part of the event coordinators. After standing in line for over three hours we felt as if we’d gone toe-to-toe with an SEC defense.

Staying on football, the coaches were out in force at Kiwanis Club for the annual “Coaches Corner.” Blackmon, Gregory, Sampley, and Brown. Of the quartet, we’d have to say Coach Gregory from Georgiana was the jazziest dresser.

Big C (not literal Big C, but ironic Big C) posed the age-old question to Brown, the same one offered to Pat Dye when he was hired as Auburn’s head football coach: how long is it going to take to beat Brantley? (or Alabama in Dye’s case). Brown is 0-4 against the Bulldogs from across the county line, which enters this season as the defending 1A champs. Brown said he learned long ago that graduation doesn’t hurt Brantley. But if any McKenzie team is going to give Coach David Lowery’s squad a run, it’s this one: 12 seniors and a human highlight reel in Emmanuel Johnson.

Georgiana and McKenzie are also in the same region this season, which makes the annual in-county ballgame between the two even more interesting. The Tigers have won two straight over the Panthers.

Staying on football again (somewhat): News broke on Wednesday of Bessemer mayoral hopeful Dorothy Davidson’s desperate Hail Mary to garner votes. Any way she can. Davidson distributed flyers of herself hanging out with Tide coach Nick Saban at a golf tournament, declaring the Crimson one’s undying support for her campaign. The picture was fake. Someone with very bad Photoshop skills basically superimposed a photo of Davidson over Saban’s wife Terry. The photo was three years old.

When asked, Davidson replied, “They said we could do it this way.”

Who, Miss Davidson? The people that live inside your head?

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