Informant MW was a current undergraduate student at Auburn University at the time of this collection. The informant’s parents are both Auburn fans who participate in game-day events and they encouraged MW to do the same as they grew up. As an undergraduate student, MW has had the opportunity to continue participating in some of the same game-day events they did before attending Auburn.
Auburn football fans celebrate the game day in a multitude of ways, all of which contribute to the large game day culture which can be experienced both on and off campus. I asked MW if they could share some of the traditions/game day rituals they enjoy partaking in.
This particular tradition is beloved by many Auburn fans.
“When Auburn wins a football game, we all go roll Toomer’s Corner” “It’s usually for football games but sometimes we do it for other sports when it’s a big game.”
This game-day ritual overtly celebrates the victory of Auburn University’s sports team. While to outsiders it might just appear to be an enjoyable tradition, to insiders it has come to represent the passionate spirit and comradery of the university and its fans. In hearing about this ritual, I am inclined to believe that it expresses and reflects one of Auburn University’s most fundamental values: unity within community. By encouraging large groups to gather and roll specified trees on its campus, Auburn is permitting a temporary yet unavoidable change in its physical appearance. If only one or a few people were to participate in this ritual, it would not have much of an effect, but by encouraging mass participation in this ritual, Auburn is allowing a demonstration of the potential that students/fans have when they unite. Just as sports themselves are team efforts, this game-day ritual hinges on teamwork. While this tradition provides students and fans with an exciting activity, it is simultaneously functioning to represent and physicalize the shared value of unity.