Roll Tide or War Eagle…In Alabama You’ve Gotta Make Your Choice

In Alabama you’ve got to make your choice at a very early age. Unless you’re bound by your family tradition, it’s never too early to decide whether you love Auburn or The University of Alabama. Here, there is no doubt about which camp anyone is in. It’s refreshingly unambiguous.

I asked our bus driver Doug where he stood. “Alabama!” he thundered.

Our guide from Orange Beach Gulf Shores, Kim, said she was a Tiger. That’s the mascot for Auburn, they’re the Tigers. Alabama is the Tide. The Crimson Tide. One of the writers we traveled with is a lifelong Alabamaian who graduated from The U of Alabama. She still recalls the absolute shock and awe that her and her cheerleader friends experienced once when they were practicing in a gym and Coach Bear Bryant walked in. “We all just stopped and our jaws dropped, it was so amazing, nobody said anything, we were speechless.”

Such was the power of the legendary coach, who won more national championships for ‘Bama than any other mere mortal ever since.

To Auburn fans, the way you greet them seems a little odd. You say “War Eagle.” For their rivals, the way to address a fellow fan is “Roll Tide!” It’s nice to hear how certain and solid these constituencies remain, and that there’s absolutely no grey area at all. It’s one or the other. You gotta choose.