Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

Pie and TigerThis week, an old friend died. Tiger, known to many as War Eagle VI, passed away after complications from surgery. She was 34, one of the oldest golden eagles in captivity. Being born in captivity, and imprinting on humans, releasing her into the wild was never an option.

Tiger was more than a mascot. She was more than an eagle that I helped care for while at Auburn. She was an educational resource and a source of inspiration. She made appearances at schools across Alabama and occasionally locations further away if she was passing through town. You weren’t allowed to hold her at an appearance if you couldn’t talk about Tiger’s history, golden eagles in general, or the threats to their native habitats.

And she was family.

While I hold no special claim on Tiger, I likely spent more time with her than anyone who wasn’t a trainer. In fact, why I wasn’t a trainer is a source of mystery. When I was at Auburn, Tiger was cared for by my Fraternity. My fraternal big brother Bill, was the Head Eagle Trainer. Both of my little brothers became eagle trainers, one eventually becoming the head trainer. Even my best friend and roommate for three years was the Head Eagle Trainer.

I wasn’t, but I have some stories.

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Thankful for the Iron Bowl

Iron Bowl Logo.pngIt is Thanksgiving in the United States this week. It is a time for turkey and pie. Oh the pies. I am thankful for many things, but I won’t go into many of those today. I want to talk about a Thanksgiving tradition. The Iron Bowl.

The Iron Bowl is the annual American football game between my alma mater, Auburn University, and the other major school in the state of Alabama, the University of Alabama. While those facts would normally be enough to make the game interesting, when one realizes how little else there is to do in Alabama besides watch college football, it escalates. It is more than bragging rights.

This year, Alabama is ranked number one and is the defending National Champion. Auburn is ranked fourth (out of 120 teams). The winner takes the division and will play in the the Southeastern Conference championship. As the SEC champion has won the last seven National Championships, In fact, the last four winners of the Iron Bowl have won the National Championship.

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Tradition in the Enterprise

imageI just want to say, I love traditions. They make so many things wonderful. My son is named after his grandfather just like my father and I. Auburn screams War Eagle! as our battle cry during sporting events, or just when we want to greet a fellow alum.

The thing about traditions is that they need to exist for a reason. In the above examples, remembering those that made us who we are and providing a means of unifying a diverse group are two good reasons. All traditions have a reason when they are started, but do those reasons apply years after the fact? More importantly, do they even have a place in business?

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