Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tiger Trek 2014

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Ok. So, I may or may NOT have rescheduled a work trip because it conflicted with this event. But I know yall won't judge me, right?

So, here I am in Ogden, Utah after a long LLLOOONNNGGG day of flights. I just jumped off the treadmill because I am becoming ever increasingly out of shape. Errr...I am becoming in shape. Of a circle.

But yall don't want to read about that, I know. Yall want to read about Tiger Trek 2014. Right? Was it better than 2013? Well, take a second to read about my review of Tiger Trek 2013.

I will go ahead and tell you, the Huntsville-Madison County Auburn Club did an even BETTER job this year than last! There is no better way to spend an evening, especially for the money. I commend the leadership and the hard work to make such an event both affordable and incredible!

First off, my wife and I learned some lessons last year. First thing, show up early. Like, as soon as the doors open. Last year we didn't get there early and we were forced to jump in line for autographs, which meant we had to sit WAAYYY back from the head table. For short people like us, that's torture.

So we got there early and reserved a seat as close to the stage as we could. We perused the food to see what was being served. Alyse had *figured* that it would be Cinco de Mayo inspired, and indeed she was correct. 7 layer dip and fajitas were to be served, and in both chicken and beef versions! It smelled (and tasted) terrific.

We checked the silent auction items out next. We made mental notes of the items we would be interested in. But this year, I wasn't just interested. After seeing some of the inspired by 2013 items, it inspired me to put in some bids.

Alyse REALLY wanted the put-into-text radio call for "Kick 6", which was in the shape of Alabama, signed by the miracle man, Chris Davis.

I really wanted either a picture of Louis "Prayer in Jordan-Hare" or the autographed print of Davis' "Kick 6".

Alyse convinced me to go after the Kick 6 items, so I put in bids (which I knew would never win).

We got into line for autographs, which put us about 5 people back from the head of the line. Meanwhile, a lady circulated the line, selling raffle tickets to sit next to Coach Malzahn at dinner. Since they were $5 and I couldn't win a seat for both me and my wife (and neither of wanted to be up there without the other, though we both wanted to win), we passed. A young man about 3 people behind me couldn't pass up the deal and bought a ticket. Alyse said that she felt that today was my lucky day, but I shrugged. After he received his ticket and the lady sold several more, I made the comment that "I didn't like my odds."

*Spoiler Alert* the guy won. Good for him, though.

Coach Malzahn did a quick media session and then took a seat at the table. He was all smiles and very gracious. Alyse and I both were able to get an autograph with him. I was able to chat with him for a few seconds, getting him to laugh at a joke (I have video and will upload it when I get back). Apparently the photo opportunity was a good one and photographers from AL.com snapped this pic, which appeared on the front page of their website. You can read the whole article here.

Later in the evening, I was able to catch up with Aubie. I took some very unique pictures with him, but you will have to wait for those! In the mean time, here are some!

And, one with my beautiful bride!

We headed to our table and I found that a coworker had managed to sit next to me, though it was totally by chance! I was able to meet his wife and several friends. That's what you get in local events. Share a great time and dinner with old friends and meet new ones. And, you already have something wonderful in common!

We chowed down on fajitas and dip. It was fantastic and really hit the spot. Just what we needed on Cinco de Mayo!

We were able to celebrate the annual scholarship winners and listen to their speeches. I wish the world for the two winners from last night. It takes a lot of hard work to win such a prize and a lot of courage to get in front of 600 people and talk about it! Wish I could have accomplished what they have. I hope my children are able to! That's just one of the huge benefits of people part of the Huntsville-Madison County Auburn Club. If you aren't a member, you should be! Just become an Auburn Alumni Association member and you are in! That's what we have done and we have never looked back! In fact, next year I will be buying a lifetime membership. Go check out everything the two have to offer and you won't be disappointed.

Ok, enough plugging.

So, coach got on stage and the hype video from last year played on the big stage. If you were at A-Day, you saw it. Butterflies all around, and for him as well. He entertained us all with his engaging personality and smile. He even had a few jokes to tell. But, he knew he was there to deliver a glimpse into the future. He ran down the offense and defense in full, even going into the two-deep at times. As you would expect, he knows every player like it was his own kid. He knows where the excel and where they need work. The main message was that Auburn was going faster on offense and was going to make a return to the defenses we all remember. Then he opened up the floor for questions.

Nobody was really jumping up to ask questions. I admit that I hadn't really though up any, myself. Alyse had, but she refused to get up on the microphone. I thought she would do fantastic and everyone would LOVE to hear such insight from a woman. That's not to say women don't know football. I know many do. But I would put her up against any man, any day.

The only thing came to mind was spawned from his energy in delivering hope and promise from the offense. Having already dabbled in things such as What A-Day Taught Us About the Offense and my WAAAYYY TOO Early Predictions for 2014, I took the mic to ask a question that many people probably scoffed at. But I believe it's pertinent.

"Give us your honest prediction that Auburn could break, not only Auburn records, but any and all major NCAA offensive categories in 2014."

Outlandish. Ridiculous. Foolhardy. Auburn Homer. I know you were all thinking it. Coach didn't offer too much on the subject, and I didn't figure that he would. He did offer that records didn't really concern him that much and that it would be hard in this league. All answers I knew I would get. But I saw the twinkle in his eye. He knows. I know. Now yall do! It's easy to look at his record and KNOW he will do well. Most people probably figure he WILL break Auburn records. It's also easy to look at one of the countries hardest schedules and think there is no way it will happen. Maybe from the outside.

It does seem that way. But I also know that this offense is in a unique position, even in the SEC. He has his first returning QB, and it isn't some run-of-the-mill player. It is one of the finest athletes in the country, and if he continues to improve his game, while be surrounded by a terrific o-line and scary weapons...well....why not? The records are meant to be broken. Many teams have flirted with it in the last few years. Many of them coached by Gus. He will have a defense at his disposal that he has not had before, one able to stop teams cold.

But, I am on a tangent. He wrapped up and said his goodbyes.

The event concluded and I was pleasantly surprised to see that we had won an item....and it was the one Alyse wanted. That might have had something to do with a husband that stood over the object like a vulture and made SURE it was going home with his wife. It will be her office center piece. Happy Mother's Day!

Again, what a terrific event. We didn't bring the kids this year, but we plan to bring them next year. After all, it's all-you-can-eat, and with a landfill like our youngest, we need all the opportunities we can get. Additionally, how else can you get autographs from coach? A great photo op with Aubie? Bid on unique items? All for a few bucks? Don't forget to check out the clubs that made it all happen.  Huntsville-Madison County Auburn Club. and the Auburn Alumni Association . Joining is a must for rabid Auburn fans like us!