BY MICHELLE KEY
PHOTO BY ROBERT NOLES | THE OBSERVER
AUBURN — The Iron Bowl may have been a heartbreak for most Auburn fans, but for at least one, just being there was a dream come true in spite of the final score.
“It was so loud and colorful,” Paul Mortimer said. “The size of the stadium and the number of people is incomprehensible to an ordinary British person. We just don’t have many stadiums that hold that amount of people. Being able to run out in the field was the most amazing thing.”
Mortimer traveled to Alabama from his home in England. He became fascinated with American football, specifically the Auburn Tigers, after watching the 2013 Iron Bowl and witnessing the now famous Kick Six play that gave Auburn the win over rival Alabama.
After 10 long years of watching Auburn play from across the ocean, Mortimer finally had the chance to embrace the Auburn Iron Bowl experience in person.
“I am over moon I traveled here for the game,” Mortimer said. “It’s been a dream come true to visit Auburn. The experience has been more than I could have ever dreamed.”
During his trip to the Plains, he visited local icons such as Little Italy, Mama Goldberg’s, Niffers and Toomer’s Drugstore, as well as new hot spots like The Plains Taproom.
He said he enjoyed meeting people from the Auburn community, but he said he was excited to also meet Aubie.
“The best part of my trip has been meeting the people of Auburn,” Mortimer said. “I already knew the Auburn family was AUsome but meeting them has just confirmed everything I already thought. Also, Aubie recognized me at a basketball game, so that was pretty cool!”
Mortimer had the opportunity to watch Auburn basketball, volleyball and, of course, football. Even though the game did not end with an Auburn win, Mortimer said that he welcomed the experience.
“The game didn’t end the way I had hoped but it was ‘a game,'” he said. “Most people didn’t give us a hope of winning before the game started.
Mortimer even spoke of the game as ‘a true Auburn fan.’
“It may not have been an Auburn win, but it was a game we will talk about for a long time. I was so proud of the team for fighting till the end, and I was privileged to be part of it.”
He said that he plans to come back.
“I will absolutely come again — I’ve made so many more friends and I’m so sad to be leaving. I’ve already started planning my return trip.”