An Auburn ‘War Eagle’ Flight Gone Wrong and the Human Response
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Auburn’s War Eagle pregame flight is undeniably one of the greatest traditions in sports, on any level. I won’t even listen to an argument that suggests otherwise. This ritual combines our nation’s symbol for freedom and the sport our people are most passionate for. Even if these two things don’t hit you square in your giblets like a sledgehammer, and shame on you if they don’t, it’s just an awesome sight to behold. It’s an eagle soaring over 90,000 screaming, red-blooded, college football-loving Americans. It’s goddamn beautiful.
I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Jordan Hare to witness this majestic spectacle first hand, but it’s on my sports bucket list. Don’t know if I’ll stay for the actual game, but I’ll surely check out the War Eagle one of these days. I hope I catch it on a good day, because the flight doesn’t always go as planned. For whatever reasons, these flights can, and sometimes do, go awry. Maybe the bird’s internal control tower is malfunctioning and he veers off for no particular reason. Maybe he catches a glimpse of some fly little grackle perched up on the stadium lights that he wants to swoop up and holler at for a minute. Maybe he spots some pencil-necked turd in the crowd that he wants to try to scare the shit out of by buzzing his tower with that domineering 7-foot wingspan. Shit, I think sometimes he even gets caught up in his own self-admiration, and if he sees his reflection, he cruises in for a closer, mesmerizing look. I believe that’s what happened here:
Entertaining, sure (as long as no harm is done to the eagle), but I’d rather see a clean flight, something to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my pants twitch a bit in the crotchel region – something that reminds me that I’m home in the land of the free. I want to be awe-inspired, although I would settle for a belly laugh. My favorite photograph of a ‘War Eagle’ flight actually comes from the above video and it falls into the latter group – it’s hysterical. It’s this photo from the 2011 Mississippi State at Auburn game, and it’s truly worth a thousand words.
I won’t quite get to a thousand, but I am going to break it down for you. The letters obviously correspond with the characters in the photo, and characters they are:
Jim from The Office and his undershirt are moderately intrigued with the possible outcomes of this eagle coming straight for his face. Not really concerned, though.
This guy looks like he’s at the zoo witnessing two rhinos giving each other the business, and he’s real big into rhinos. Just out of frame is his fanny pack.
“I have no qualms with swinging this pom pom at you, you fucking bird. Back the fuck up.” But really, she’s just having a good ole time.
This is so freaking exciting and I have no worries because my program will protect me.
This guy is clearly drunk. He’s loving every passing second of this hairy situation. Nothing would make him happier than to see this thing go into the crowd Kamikaze style and take out an old lady, or maybe a couple small children. He waits with unbridled anticipation as the possibilities stream through his head at 100 MPH.
This kid is in a state of sheer terror. He’ll be lucky to escape this attack with all of his limbs attached. “Is this drunk man going to sacrifice me to save his own ass?! Is he going to hold me up and let this ferocious bird of prey rip my goddamn head off? Get your hands off me!”
“Oh shit. Watch out, player. This is my favorite tee shirt.”
Why does this guy remind me of the hunting dog from Nintendo’s Duck Hunt giggling up a storm when you miss all the ducks? I always tried to shoot that dog.
Not a single fuck was given that day.
Old timer has been attending every Auburn game for the last 40 years hoping to witness the War Eagle take some folks out near him, and it might all be coming to fruition for him right here. This sick old man is what letter E is, only as an older, more sober man. He is brimming with unmitigated excitement.
“Alright! Yeah! Now that’s a great looking animal. Fly on through, man. Heck yeah.”
“Mmmm hmmmm, yep. Fuckin’ America, man.”
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