Saturday, November 27, 2010

...being an Auburn graduate

Over the past couple of years, my loyalty and love for my alma mater has been challenged.  I have been questioned by Alabama and Auburn fans alike about how I could love Auburn University as much as I do.  It's extremely hard for me to just answer in a short and sweet explanation.  So here's the long version...

When I was a little girl, I had dreams of becoming a true Auburn Tiger.  I remember going to the Auburn games and tailgating behind Parker Hall and Allison Lab.  We would always eat chicken fingers, potato salad, and pawprint cheetos.  Mom would take us in Parker Hall to use the restroom before we made the long (or so I thought in my young mind) hike to Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Of course, we sat in the nose-bleed section and having two little girls wasn't always pleasant when the hike to and from the bathroom took 30 minutes each trip.  I knew even in my young years that there was something special about Auburn.  It was more than just your typical Southeastern Conference school. 

I always loved going to Auburn for games and atmosphere.  We didn't go to very many, but the ones we went to were some great memories that I still have today.  I was there for the 1994 LSU game when Auburn scored twice within a minute and six seconds.  We sat in the LSU section for the game and it was terrible!  I knew all of the LSU cheers, not by choice, by the end of the game.  Thankfully, Auburn won so that shut 'em up.

Growing up an Auburn fan in the '90's was extremely difficult.  Try being a little girl and having nothing but Alabama fans as friends.  After the Iron Bowl, I would go to school and get made fun of because I cheered for the "losers".  In fact, I was a loser because I cheered for Auburn.  Whoever said kids aren't mean is a liar.  Kids are mean and scarred me for life.

Not only did I get made fun of at school, my sister and I were also made fun of at our extended family gatherings.  Try having uncles and cousins, call Auburn losers and say they never had a chance.  (And Auburn during those years probably didn't, but is the principle of it.)  Sissy and I couldn't defend our beloved Tigers, because to an extent, it was true.  I never knew just how much these memories have hurt me and just how far in life I have carried them with me until now.  When you have been made fun of as much and long and hard as I have, you grow a certain hatred for the opposing team.  My hatred for Auburn's closest rival came from being made fun of.  Bullies are real.  It's one thing when it's your friends, but another when it's your own family. 

As a senior in high school, I only applied to one college:  Auburn.  I never wanted to go anywhere else.  I have a picture in our Auburn bedroom of Sis and me in our matching "Of course, I am going to Auburn" shirts.  I was about 5 1/2 and Sis was 4 when the picture was taken.  It's one of my favorites from my childhood.  Anyways...back to senior year...I remember going to War Eagle Day with Mom and Dad to tour the campus.  Every student we passed either said "hey" or "war eagle".  There wasn't an unfriendly face on campus.  It felt like home.

September 1989

After getting accepted, moving into the dorms, and starting classes, I felt a sense of pride once the first football game rolled around.  If you have never attended the college that you pull for, it will be harder for you to relate to my story.  As a student of Auburn University, I became somewhat angry at the Auburn fans who strictly loved Auburn for football or any of the other Auburn sports.  Auburn University is more than just an Athletic Department.  It's a place where young adults come to learn and expand their minds.  They don't just learn about academics, but rather how to live and interact with people.  They learn what it is like to become a part of a family who supports each other by interacting with the many faces around the campus.  They find a home for life upon entering the classroom.  Auburn men and women are challenged every day by professors and their peers to make a difference in the world.  At the end of the day, nothing matters more than family...our Auburn family. 

In fact, Auburn isn't football, but football is a small fraction of Auburn.  Auburn is a spirit, a way of life, a home, a family, a warm cozy feeling.  Auburn is so hard to describe to someone who has never stepped on campus as a student.  It's an honor to be an Auburn alum.  It was my first life-long dream that came true on August 7, 2006.

In essence, I get superly offended when people "dog" or make fun of my Auburn.  Likewise, I get extremely upset when I can't celebrate a win for the Tigers in "peace" without someone being in "shock" or sarcastically calling me "classy" because I make a post on fb.  Really, people?  Fans have been saying "cut-downs"/celebrating for their teams for decades and you are going to call me out for joining in?  My team works their tails off and I am showing support (as you do for your team) for their hard work.  If you can't respect my team for winning a hard-played game, then someone needs to check your "sore loser" meter.

Furthermore, if you are offended after a loss by the same cheer that your school chants after every game they win, something is messed up with that.  Again, check the sore loser meter...  If you have a problem with your team's cheer(s), then join a new team.  There is no reason to be in "shock" because an Auburn fan has slightly changed the words to one of your school's cheers.  completely ridiculous.

And yes, I am fired up.  There is no need for shock or sarcastic remarks ESPECIALLY if your team is the same as mine.  Some people may not be as committed to Auburn as I am.  That doesn't give you the right to make "unclassy" remarks to me.  Have I ever pushed my views upon you?  Uh, no.  There is no need for you to push your views upon me.  My heart...whole heart (and money) belongs to Auburn University.  If there is a problem with that, you can just get over it.  It is foolish for me to defend my views for the same university that we both cheer for.  In fact, I find it unclassy of you to pull for Auburn's biggest rival just because they are in the SEC or your family members are for the "enemy" or whatever your excuse may be. 

As an Auburn graduate, there is no reason for me to have to defend or censor what I say on my fb, blog, texts, or wherever else I have the freedom to express how/what I feel.  Auburn is a part of me, and I am a part of it.  I will defend Auburn until my last breath.  Auburn taught me more than just finance; Auburn taught me how to be an adult and contribute to society.  I am a better person for being an Auburn graduate. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a simple request

Dear Mother Nature/The Keeper of the Weather,

     Fall is one of my favorite times of year.  Living in the South has made me grow to appreciate that much more as I have gotten older.  I used to not really care for fall-like weather.  However, there is nothing like the cool crispness of a fall morning. 

    I have been planning for this fall season for several weeks now.  I have made multiple trips to Old Navy to update my wardrobe for this very season.  For some reason, temperatures reading in the 70's and 80's don't seem to go away.  Do you understand that we are in the mid-to-late-mid November now?  I need some cooler weather a-sap so I can wear my new sweaters, jackets, and long-sleeves. 

   Besides busting out my new clothes, I need the cooler weather to get in the holiday mood.  It just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving is next Thursday when the weather is in the 70's.  Don't get me wrong:  Thanksgiving in the 70's at the beach is totally different than Thanksgiving in Birmingham.  I don't want it to feel like beach Thanksgiving weather while not being at the beach.  There is no point in that. 

   My simple request is a slight drop in the temperature; nothing too major.  I like the 30's at the night and 50's during the day.  If there is any way that you could make that happen for me, I will forever be grateful.

Leslie B. Todd

Sunday, November 14, 2010

gray is to Brindley as red is to Schmitt...

...which has NOTHING to do with Alabama colors (red and gray) by the way.  Each side of my family has their bad traits and for me the hair color is the worst.  It's funny how the worst traits in both family genes is in the hair.  I know you can understand where I am coming from on the "gray" part, but others might find it offensive with the "red" part.  Don't get me wrong:  my family members who have reddish hair look beautiful with it.  I, on the other hand, do not.  I have always had brown hair, but why is my hair now showing signs of red?  I guess the coloring doesn't help with hiding the red like it does with the gray. 

I love both of my family heritages.  You read about some of the traits from one of the sides in a recent post.  Now the other side is quite different.  I am not necessarily saying "good" different, but just different.  If the Brindleys are analytical and "worst case" scenario, then the Schmitts are cautious and thought provoking.  Let me explain...

While the Brindley side of me analyzes everything to the immediate worst case scenario (of EVERY situation), the Schmitt side of me is cautious to act upon something with haste.  While both sides like for everything to be thought out and planned to a T, the Schmitt side is more giving to uncontrolled situations that may or may arise.  Being a Schmitt means thinking rationally and realistically in every situation.  Always knowing what COULD happen, but don't overthink the outcome.

This might be the worst battle that has EVER enter my mind.  I immediately jump to the worst case scenario, but then thoroghly think through the situation like a realistic event.  strange?  yes.  helpful?  possibly.

I think my favorite part of being a Schmitt (without the actual given name) is the crafty side.  My grandmother makes beautiful things in her ceramic shop.  I couldn't even begin to be that creative or great with a brush like she is in painting.  I will never forget being at her house when I was in early elementary school and she drew free-handed a picture of Minnie Mouse.  I was in awe of her raw talent and her story about how she would always doodle in class instead of taking notes.  The Brindley side of me came out and I wondered to myself "How in the world did she make straight A's if she wasn't taking notes and instead drawing?"

Growing up, my mom was always a crafty "room mom".  I was always envious of the things she made up for us to make or to give as gifts to our friends.  I always told myself that preschool teachers have to be creative so she was just living up to her profession.  As I got older I realized that she didn't have to be creative because she was a teacher.  Mamski was naturally creative.  And it wasn't until the past couple of years that my jealously for Granmolli and Mamski started to be suppressed by my own creative mind.  I am not sure what happened.  It seems like a light bulb turned on overnight, and here I am making tablerunners from an old bedsheet, AU shirts from old Tshirts, beach blankets from sweat-stained-armpit college Tshirts, and kitchen curtains from super cheap fabric.

My ideas are numerous and my time is few, which is extremely frustrating.  I need more hours in the day and days in the week to create my ideas.  Maybe one day "ElleBeeTee Originals" will come to life and you too can purchase your very own creations made by yours truly.  Until that day comes, I will continue making all that I can with the time that has been given to me.