by Maddie Joiner
For the Opelika Observer

Try and picture it.

Your alarm goes off bright and early on Saturday morning. The ringing is loud and annoying but your excitement for what the day brings is enough to make you jump out of bed. It’s September. It’s Saturday. It’s game day. It’s time for Auburn Football.

As your flip through the TV channels, you get  dressed;  in your Auburn jersey with your gameday buttons. With your orange and blue shaker in hand, you walk out the door towards Toomer’s corner. “War Eagle” is all you hear from strangers as nobody can contain their excitement for kickoff.

After a year of no tailgating, no watch parties, only students in the stands, no band on the field and no Auburn family filling The Plains, Tiger fans are ready. Ready for kick-off. Ready to see their Tigers from the bleachers of Jordan-Hare. Ready to see the eagle fly. Ready for Bodda Getta and the fight song. Ready for a new era under Bryan Harsin.

Last year was, as everyone has said, “unlike any other”. But as the world returns to normalcy, so does Auburn.

Toomer’s Corner will finally be filled with waves of orange and blue. The green space will once again be filled with so many white tents that you can no longer see grass. Fans will be able to see their favorite players in the famous Tiger Walk. The trees of Toomer’s will (hopefully) be covered in toilet paper. Jordan-Hare will be rocking.

Game day anywhere is fun; Game days in Auburn are unlike any other. The Auburn family welcomes everyone with a strong “War Eagle” and it makes Auburn feel like home. It’s hard not to smile as you approach Jordan-Hare Stadium. Walking through the concourse, then out of the tunnel to see the green field and bright sunshine is as good as Christmas morning, maybe better.

September is hot and you’re bound to get sweaty, but after a year of watching from home, no one will care about that. Everyone is just happy to be back.

As fans start to pack the stands, everyone’s excitement grows. The best part of game day is about to happen — the eagle flight. She circles the field, and the crowd shouts a loud “WAAAAARRR EAGLE HEY!” It’s officially game time.

The hype videos start playing and the band takes the field — finally.

Out of everything we missed last year, the Auburn Marching Band not taking the field was near the top of my list of things to be upset about. Nothing compares to the feeling when the fight song starts playing.

The stadium announcer shouts, “This is the Auburn University Marching Band!” and the stadium roars at a deafening pitch. You can’t hear a thing. Fans wave their orange and blue shakers and scream so loud their throats will hate them the next day — if not for the next week.

The Tigers take the field for kickoff and finally, after what felt like eons, Auburn football and the Auburn game day experience reach its zenith.

After a year of no game-day festivities, Auburn fans should be excited for Sept. 4. Excited to be back in Jordan-Hare and back to a real game-day experience. Excited to watch their Tigers play a 12-game season. Excited to see all the things we didn’t see last year.

This year will be different — but in all the right ways. After an almost empty Jordan-Hare last year, a packed one will be so loud that you’ll need earplugs. The team feeds off fan energy and crowd noise, and there will be plenty of it this year. Tailgates will be everywhere. Bathroom lines will be insane. Parking will be nonexistent. This is different than last year – but better.

Adding to the difference is the arrival of first-year head coach Bryan Harsin.

Change can be scary, but Auburn needed change. Harsin brings a breath of fresh air to The Plains. With a new coaching staff, playing scheme and recruiting tactics, the Harsin era is something to be excited about. It’s something new and it’s something different. But get excited Auburn fans because football is almost here.

They always say, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, but I’m excited to get to know this one.

Jordan-Hare, see you soon.