For some fans, there’s nothing in the world like college football. Each team has their own set of rituals, cheers and traditions. The University of Alabama and Auburn University have a storied history, brimming with long-rooted traditions. This is a list of 5 things you’ve just gotta try to get the full college football experience in both Tuscaloosa and Auburn.
1. Have a glass of lemonade from Toomer’s Drugs
When you’re heading to the Auburn campus for game day, stop by Toomer’s Drugs for some liquid refreshment. You can already assume there will be a line, but it’s worth the wait.
The lemonade has been a Toomer’s tradition since 1896. Sheldon Toomer opened the drug store with just a $500 loan. He was a halfback on Auburn’s first football team. According to the drug store’s website, “Shel”, as he was known, graduated with both a degree in agriculture and pharmacy. He opened the business with his stepfather, creating a staple of the Auburn University experience.
2. Eat at Rama Jama’s
You do more than a double take when you walk into Rama Jama’s in Tuscaloosa. Not only is there a treasure trove of Crimson Tide memorabilia on the walls, the owner has more than a little resemblance to UA’s head football coach, Nick Saban.
Rama Jama’s is a classic burger and dog shop in the shadow of Bryant-Denny Stadium. It has a growing tradition of its own, the National Championship BLT. The sandwich has a strip of bacon for every Bama football national championship. As of 2018, this towering sandwich comes with 17 pieces of bacon, as well as three slices of thick toast, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, and a championship ring. In this case, that’s an onion ring.
3. See the majestic eagle soar
AU has one of the most graceful pre-game traditions. An eagle is released inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, and it circles the venue, landing midfield 16 minutes prior to kick-off at every game. These eagles live at the Auburn Raptor Center. The raptor rehabilitation center is part of the university. This soaring tradition started in 2000. Previously, an eagle was present on the sidelines, though.
So, how did the “War Eagle” cry become tradition for the Auburn Tigers? Legend says a Civil War veteran brought his pet eagle to a game in 1892, when Auburn played Georgia. The eagle broke free, according to the story, and started circling the field while Auburn was pushing toward the end zone. Auburn students and fans started to yell ‘war eagle,’ as AU won the game.
4. Brag about a UA win by doing the Rammer Jammer cheer
The “Rammer Jammer” is a staple of a Crimson Tide victory. It’s a taunt, full of pride. A student who worked for the UA newspaper, known as the “Rammer Jammer,” wrote the cheer.
Years ago, fans would chant the cheer ahead of the game, warning “we’re gonna beat the h@!! out you.” Then after the game, the words of the cheer would change to “we just beat.” The cheer was deemed unsportsmanlike in 2000. It hasn’t stopped fans from starting up when Bama is moments away from a victory.
5. Celebrate an AU win by rolling Tommer’s trees
If there’s a reason to celebrate on “The Plains,” there’s likely going to be toilet paper on the trees at the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and College Street in Auburn. The area is known as Toomer’s Corner, and it’s where football wins have been celebrated since at least the 1970s.
The urban legend told about the origins of this tradition says that during away games, employees of Toomer’s Drugs got word of the team’s win from telegraph. Those employees would take the telegraph ticker tape and throw it up on the power lines. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence to back up this story. The first cited celebratory roll was the 1972 Iron Bowl. It’s believed that fans had been rolling the corner for at least a year, by then, though.
If you’re planning on tailgating alongside the Auburn Family or Crimson Tide, or hosting a football viewing party at your home, you might enjoy these team-themed cocktails here.
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