Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A glimpse into a rival's mind

Warning: the following content might just be too weird for some audiences. Parental and psychological guidance recommended.

What follows, my friends, is what might be called the "Nutso Manifesto."

It's the script of a statewide radio address that then-Auburn Athletic Director David Housel made about five years ago, on the eve of the Auburn-Alabama game.

It is, in a word, peculiar. It's also, in a second word, instructive. For it speaks to certain state of mind that has made the Auburn-Alabama rivalry, in a third word, distinct.

There are other words we can use to describe Mr. Housel's remarks: messianic, disturbing, paranoid . . . but let's not project. Read them for yourself.

Keep in mind that they were uttered by the top athletic administrator of a major American university. And see if you don't feel a little better versed in the workings of one or more lobes of the Auburn mind.

Here we go . . .

"...Now the time has come - the time has come to decide who we are, what we are and what we're going to do.

"You UA fans listening in to see what we're saying, how we're feeling, how we're thinking, how about giving us a moment alone, just us Auburn people so we can talk among ourselves.

"Would you do us that favor? We'd appreciate it. Take a break. Go to the bathroom. Get another beer. Do whatever you want to do. I don't care. Just give us Auburn people a moment alone.

"Well, now that we're alone, what do you think? Oh, I know they're still there. I know they're still there listening in on what we're saying. But so be it. I'm not scared of them, and you're not scared of them, either. Not since Coach (Pat) Dye came, none of us have been scared of them anymore. None of us.

"If they weren't scared of us, they wouldn't still be listening in and thinking we didn't know they were there. Funny thing is they probably thought we were stupid enough to think they would leave when we asked them to leave. They're the ones with the problem (laughs), not us.

"In fact, I want them to hear what we're saying and what we're talking about. I want them to know what we're thinking. They need to know, and when they find out, they won't sleep good tonight, tomorrow night, any night. We're coming after their butt. We're coming after them today. We're coming after them tomorrow. We're coming after them the day after tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.

"We will not rest. We won't sleep. We will not be deterred until we reach our goal, and that goal is simply this: to paint this state - the entire state, not North Alabama, not South Alabama, not East Alabama, not West Alabama, the entire state - orange and blue.

"Now (former Auburn coach) Terry Bowden and I didn't always agree, and we didn't always see eye to eye on everything, but we did agree on one thing: We might not get them, the University of Alabama mommas and papas, but we were going to get the sons and the daughters. We were going to get the children, and we are getting them. Birmingham was once their bastion, their home ground, their turf.

"Look at the statistics. Statistics don't lie. Birmingham and Jefferson County students are coming to Auburn as never before. We're winning the battle there, and we're winning the battle everywhere else. Take a snapshot here, take a snapshot there and it might not be evident. But in your heart, in your heart of hearts, you know we're winning the battle, and you know we're winning the war.

"Where are their sons and daughters going to school? Think about your UA friends and the number of their children who are coming to Auburn. Inch by inch, person by person, child by child, we're winning the war. It might not be evident in every battle, and it may or may not be evident today, but we're winning the war.

"All we have to do is keep the faith and keep on fighting - every day in every way in every arena. The future is ours. All we have to do is fight for it and take it. Keeping the faith - that's the key. And I don't want to get anybody mad, and I don't want to offend anybody, but think about the Vietnam War. Think about it in the context of the Auburn-UA rivalry. Time and time again, we Americans claimed victory. We read about it in the paper. We heard about it on television. We beat ourselves on the chest. And what did it get us?

"In the little things in the hearts of the people, that's where wars are won and lost, and we're winning this war with UA. Just as sure as you hear the sound of my voice, we're winning it. You know it, and they know it. That's what will keep them awake tonight. That's what will keep them awake in the nights to come.

"Winston Churchill, he of the Auburn heart, said it best: 'Never, never, never, never give up. We will fight on the land. We will fight on the sea. We will fight in the air. We will fight until Hitler and his Nazis are driven from the face of the earth.'

"Now, I'm not comparing UA to Hitler and the Nazis. Not at all. There are many good UA people, and I have many good Alabama friends, at least a few, and I have great respect for them and their program for what they've accomplished down through the years. But this is not about them - this is about us. Who we are, what we are, and what we are going to do.

"We are going to fight them today. We are going to fight them tomorrow. We're going to fight them every day and every way. We won't win all the battles, but we're going to win the war.

"You UA fans out there, still listening in, eavesdropping voyeurs that you are, lurking there in the deep dark shadows of radio land, you can bank on it. We're going to win the war. Remember Dunkirk. The gallant British army was virtually driven into the sea. That was but one battle. It was a long, long war, as this has been, and will continue to be - a long, long war. No, this is not about you.

"This is about us, the Auburn people. And this is a call to arms - today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that. We will fight until victory is ours. And as for today, Coach (Shug) Jordan said it best and that's 'Beat hell out of The University of Alabama.'

"We will fight until the victory is ours. We may get knocked down, but we will not be knocked out. We will get up and fight again. We may occasionally be downhearted, but we will not be defeated ... never. And it is not in out nature, not in our makeup. It is not in our heart and it is not in our soul.

"Remember Goliath, remember the Roman Empire, remember Ozymandias. Learn from them, my UA friends. Learn from them and prepare to join them. (Laughs.) No, Ozymandias was not Ozzie Nelson's cousin.

"Now go listen to Eli (Gold). He's a good man. He'll tell you who Ozymandias was. Back to you, Paul (Ellen). Let's get it on."


Bama Brother said...

Sigh....Sometimes the safest and sanest place in the world is under the covers of your own bed. After reading David's words, and thinking about our dysfunctional politics, I'm pulling back the bedspread.

Michael said...

Get your lazy butt out of bed . . . God, we're at war, man!!

Bud said...

MG, this makes your crazy cousins east of the Chattahoochee appear well-nigh sane, and our rivalry with Georgia Tech almost sportsmanlike. I realize we at UGA are guilty of contributing Pat Dye to this endless madness, but we disowned him back in 1981.