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'An adrenaline rush' for Auburn fan who almost beats The Freeze
The agony of defeat for Auburn fan Alex Arrowood, who found out Friday just how hard it is to beat The Freeze. Photo courtesy of Atlanta Braves.
June 13, 2017

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - Twice, Alex Arrowood waved his arms to pump up the crowd as he neared the finish line Friday on the warning track in Atlanta's SunTrust Park.

"When about 36,000 people are screaming your name, it's hard to not let it go to your head," says Alex, a 20-year-old Auburn fan. "It was an adrenaline rush, one that I've never had before."

The crowd knew something Alex did not. Coming up on his outside, a former collegiate track star and member of the Braves' grounds crew, Nigel Talton, was about to overtake him.

"I didn't know he was that close to me until I'm running and in the video you see me look over and I'm like, `Oh, shoot,'" Alex recalls thinking. "I was like, `I need to start running more.'"

While Talton, wearing the goggles and blue body suit that make up his costume as "The Freeze," passed him and broke through the tape, Arrowood fell into Braves fan infamy, his hands and forearms taking the brunt of the impact, protecting him from a literal face plant.

"It hurt a lot," Alex says. "I tried to not hit my face on the ground. My hands took most of it. I almost had to get stitches on my side. The cut was about half an inch deep. I don't know if the reason I fell was I didn't have cleats. He had cleats on. That was a slick surface."

'I'm proud of you'

Reunited with his friends 45 minutes later after receiving first aid, the first text Alex received was from his mom, watching the game from their home in Auburn.

"And it was a video of me falling, and she said, `I'm proud of you either way,'" Alex says.

A former high school baseball player in North Carolina, Alex was used to running from one foul pole to the other.

Given a head start of nearly five seconds, Alex liked his chances of beating The Freeze and taking home a $100 gift card from RaceTrac, the promotion's sponsor.

"They told me they were going to release him at the halfway mark," Alex says. "Looking back at the video they released him at like a quarter of the way. I don't know if they just guessed that he wouldn't catch up to me in time, but he's faster than I thought he would be.



"When he was up beside me, that's when I was like, `I got to get it going.' I tried to turn on the jets and I just lost my footing."

'You're a legend'

For losing to The Freeze, Alex took home a Braves' hat and t-shirt, along with 15 minutes of social media fame.

"We're driving home. I'm upset about it because I just fell in front of that many people," Alex says. "The next morning I wake up and I have about 50-something Twitter notifications. People are tagging me on Barstool Sports, Bleacher Report, everything on Facebook, SportsCenter, the Atlanta Braves Instagram, you name it. I just woke up and it was there. It just overwhelmed me.

"I was like, `Oh my gosh, this is just horrible. I just made myself look like an idiot.' The texts are coming, my friends are reassuring me. They were like, `Dude we don't care that you fell. You're a legend. You're the guy who fell at the Braves game. You're on SportsCenter.'

"I warmed up to it. I posted a couple funny things on Twitter and a picture of me on Instagram mid-fall, and I said `If you're going to be dumb, you got to be tough.'"

There's talk of a rematch.

"Being a business student that I was, I understand, that's what the people want to see. They want to see the race happen again, I'm just going to try not to fall this time," Alex says.

"I'm just going to have fun with it, try not to fall. Wear cleats, don't get cocky and have fun."

Alex and his family moved to Auburn a year ago, allowing them to attend games without driving more than five hours each way.

"We've been Auburn fans since about 2009. We started coming to games the year before the national championship," Alex says. "Our family, we just grasp the aspect of the Auburn Family. We molded that into the values of our family. We came here, my mom and dad fell in love with it. We were blessed to have the opportunity to move here in May 2016. My older sister had the opportunity with her husband to move here in September 2016. We're rooted here, we're going to be here for a long time."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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