I've got loads of Iron Bowl memories, almost too many to list.
1972- I recall hearing my parents returning home after the game, hooting and hollering as soon as they got out of the car. Legion Field was only a mile from our house and they were still riding their euphoria. We bought one of the 45 RPM records that had Gary Sanders and Gusty Yearout's radio call of Punt, Bama Punt. We wore that sucker out in the 10-year drought afterward.
1982- I returned to Birmingham for the weekend, having moved to Mobile some months beforehand. It felt good to be back in familiar territory, in a town that was used to being at the epicenter of college football and had seasonal changes to match it. My mother and I went to some old friends' house in Trussville, Auburn folks we had known for most of my life. It was an amazing feeling as the closest I had come to watching Auburn win it was sitting in the stands with my father while Auburn led going into the fourth quarter of the 1979 Iron Bowl. Auburn closed the deal this time and it was unforgettable.
1986- I was slated to work during the Iron Bowl and would miss it altogether. I wanted to convene with friends across Mobile Bay in Daphne as we had done a few times that football season. I discovered the manager-on-duty the Friday night before the game was under the impression corporate policy dictated that any clerk whose drawer was off by $20 (over or under) was automatically suspended for their next shift. I simply failed to ring in enough video tape rentals to create an overage. After the discrepancy was discovered at shift's end, he said, "Well, when's your next shift?"
"Tomorrow," I replied.
He looked up at me, eyes gleaming as he slowly smiled. "You son of a gun," he said. I just laughed.
I got to see Lawyer's introduction to legendary status.
1987- My only experience sitting in Legion Field's upper deck. It didn't feel nearly as sturdy as the ones in Auburn. The Tide faithful didn't have a lot to cheer that day as Auburn just toyed with them like a cat with an unfortunate insect. I remember hearing the impact when Kurt Crain knocked out Clay Whitehurst and how it was the conclusive note to the lowest scoring domination I've seen.
1989- I was tending bar in Mobile, got off work about 2 a.m., went home then hit the interstate to meet my father at Saturday's game. Though tired, the anticipation of witnessing history kept me awake. I arrived at some friends' apartment in Auburn, took a nap, then walked into town from out near Glenn and Dean.
Although it was still early for game day, it was obvious something was different. The crowds, the energy, it was all unprecedented. I walked around for a couple of hours soaking it in before finally meeting Dad.
I don't need to tell anyone here about the game experience itself. Afterward, I parted company with Dad and headed for Toomer's. On the way, I ran across one of my bar regulars from Mobile. I jumped in his jeep as we made our way to the celebration, the wildest I had ever seen there.
1997- I watched the Iron Bowl from a bar in the French Quarter. My girlfriend's birthday was that weekend and we were celebrating with the stipulation that we would have to find a way for me to catch the game. Though she disliked football and understood little of it, she wondered why Auburn punted back to Bama with time running out and the game ostensibly slipping away. I was just as befuddled then we both were taken aback when cameras showed QB Dameyune Craig throwing what looked like a child's hissy fit on the sideline. Thank God for Martavious Houston and Jaret Holmes.
2000- In what was the rawest weather I've seen for an Iron Bowl, Dad went back to the car for the second half but I stayed to watch Auburn edge the hapless Tide with a trio of Damon Duval field goals. The sleet and frigid temperatures couldn't keep me from watching the perfect cap to what had been the most miserable season for Tide fans I had ever seen in my life.
2002- Dad and I were back in Tuscaloosa to watch an injury-plagued Tiger squad inexplicably top Bama using a third-string tailback and a tight end at fullback.
2005- The only disappointment to the Sack Fest was Tuberville making the offense take its foot off the pedal. Auburn should have won that game by four touchdowns or more.
2010- My sister was slated to attend the game with some of her Bama-loving in-laws so I gave her my advice on dressing for the weather that got me through the 2000 game. They opted out at the last minute.
In Mobile, I was amazed to watch something I don't think will ever be matched in terms of overcoming adversity. It was about the most hostile, pressure-filled, emotional game an Auburn team could face but they showed the character for it. The Kick Six might have grabbed the world's accolades but this was far more stupendous.