I try to get to Tiger Walk a little early. You have to if you don’t want children between you and the rail. See, I like to take pictures.
Shouldn’t I be able to get decent pics of 6-foot+ football players over the heads of 4-foot children? One would think. The pictures I do get usually aren’t very good; maybe I should try stepping back a little.
Anyhow—one time last season while me and the 10-year-olds were waiting for Tiger Walk, a couple guys were walking up and down the path, inside the rails.
One of them was handing out stickers; displaying what, I don’t remember. I could live without one.
The other guy, however, was occasionally tossing t-shirts. I cannot live without a t-shirt.
He carried them like Santa. That’s not true. The shirts themselves weren’t over his shoulder. The double oversized duffle bag bounced on the side of his leg as he walked. He might’ve had two hundred t-shirts, rolled for throwing.
I guess now I should apologize for misleading anyone. This guy certainly was a bagman, if not the bagman. And yet, who among us—besides maybe Danny Sheridan</sarcasm>—really knows?
As he approached me I let out a primal War Eagle—an offer he couldn’t refuse. I stuck the shirt, still rolled, into the hold of my cargo shorts.
Someone on the internet one time said cargo shorts aren’t cool. Here’s what I know. It wasn’t cool enough a day to layer; so I’m glad I had somewhere to stick this one. I barely knew it was there over the next seven hours before I tossed it in the backseat for the ride home.
Now, as for the question of when to unroll it. Does it matter? It wouldn’t, had it been just any game. It was not just any game.
It was the pinnacle of 2016—the one day that looked like an absolute fantasy. We ran for 543 yards; threw for another 89, with no interceptions; no fumbles lost.
It was Auburn’s largest margin of victory ever over a ranked opponent (they were 17th). When it was over, Brett Bielema lay on the ground at midfield, the world’s largest apple stuck in his mouth.
That was the day the bagman tossed me this t-shirt. It has held its form ever since. So when it gets unrolled matters.
It has not, unfortunately, maintained its magic by remaining rolled. That can only mean the power in it must be unleashed when it is unrolled. For how long—I don’t know.
Here are three ideas for how to harness the lightning. You can let me know which seems right to you, or suggest something else.
12:00 am September 2, 2017
This plan rests on the theory that unrolling the shirt at the stroke of midnight will make the entire 2017 season like the 2016 Arkansas game.
The hoped for payoff is the highest, but so is the risk. If we’ve misunderstood the magic, and it’s good for only one game, well—that would be too bad.
November 25, 2017
If it’s only good for one game, this day is the obvious choice. Alabama may have three or four losses, and we might be favored by 10 points. And that would be all the more reason why we need something special to make sure something horrible doesn’t happen.
We hope this season will ascend to something bigger than the Alabama game. But, do we keep such power in reserve that long?
You can’t take it home with you. Well, the shirt you can. But, I’ve already done that . . . So, what do you think?