I've been in Auburn way after dark. I can think of a couple of 8 p.m. football games that went into overtime ... one that went into three overtimes.
I've also been in Auburn during many sunrises ... just none that I saw before Thursday.
I left for Auburn at 4:30 a.m., and special thanks to Led Zeppelin for keeping me awake while en route. There's no cure for heavy eyes quite like the Immigrant Song. Kashmir works, too.
Following Kashmir on my compilation CD is Ten Years Gone, which launched me deep into reflection. A working mind keeps the eyes open, and the lyrics work the mind:
Blind stars of fortune, each have several rays
On the wings of maybe, down in birds of prey
Kind of makes me feel sometimes, didn't have to grow
But as the eagle leaves the nest, it's got so far to go
I never get tired of hearing it, but I digress.
I rolled into town about 6:30 and was heartened to see that Auburn University had left a light on for me. The lights of Jordan-Hare Stadium illuminated an otherwise dark sky.
I was also heartened to find lots of available parking spaces at the Athletics Complex, but a worrisome thought occurred. What if the complex is locked?
I wanted to set up in the media workroom before going to the stadium, after all.
Worry solved! I saw kicker Wes Byrum walking toward the complex, and he showed me an unlocked door. All's good.
There was no receptionist in the lobby. Brenda probably wasn't even awake yet, let alone at work.
I passed lots of darkened offices and hoofed it down the long, dark hallway to the media workroom (which doubles as the staff break room) and set up.
On the way back out, I saw Sports Info Director Kirk Sampson in his office. I sat down and chatted with him while he worked. We talked Auburn stuff, dad stuff and just general stuff before heading off to the stadium together.
The sky had lightened by the time we got into Jordan-Hare. Once the scrimmage started, the sun was peaking over the East-side second deck.
Therein was the advantage to covering a scrimmage so early in the day. We got direct sunlight on the perch from which scribes and sports-info folks normally watch these things. It warmed us on an otherwise chilly morning.
From there, I had Tony Franklin's no-huddle offense to keep me awake while I kept play-by-play.
After a 100-play scrimmage, I did on-field interviews, blogged, wrote for the paper and had lunch with my buds. Then I was on my way home ... which brings up another advantage to Sunrise Scrimmages. Once back in Oxford, I had lots of day left.
My wife and near-2-year-old son appreciated that, though I'm still trying to figure out how it was that SHE got to take the nap.