So, as most of you know.... A man poisoned the historic trees at Toomer's corner.
Also, as most of you know, I was born and raised an Auburn fan, and this news makes me incredibly sad. I could talk about my memories of rolling the trees after the games, the streams of TP flowing long. But truthfully, I don't have those memories, because I have only been to a handful of Auburn games in my lifetime, but that doesn't mean I am any less of a fan. But although I did not personally roll those trees, the entire practice was a sign of victory for my all-time favorite team, and even settling for photos of the action was enough for me. Because truthfully, it is more about what those trees represent: pride.
It would be an understatement to say that football is king in the South. It is a cultural phenomenon all unto itself. Each two-a-day practice and hard fought battle is something that goes down in history in the small rural towns of our region. And out of that are born tremendous rivalries, some could argue as monumental as the Romans vs. the Greeks. The Auburn-Alabama rivalry, in my opinion, is no different. Each team has a history steeped in tradition, and today - as they did 50 or more years ago - little boys dream of growing up to play football wearing either crimson or orange and blue. Little girls grow up wanting to cheer for those boys. And the rest if us? Well, we just can't wait for football season to start.
So not only am I saddened that our rivalry has cost us something that is irreplaceable, but also I am saddened that this is the great struggle of our time right now.
Don't get me wrong. Football is something I love deeply and look forward to each year, but I cannot believe that we are all more consumed with this tragedy than anything else going on in our country. People in this age are more willing to stand up and do something about this than they are to talk about the real issues in the world: poverty, racial tensions, educational gaps.
We live in a culture that is comfortable with accepting the status quo. As long as we feel we are on the top of the heap looking down on everyone else, we are willing to accept mediocrity. I personally am tired of people who do nothing or care nothing about the rest of society, but will spend all their time in life calling in to shows like Paul Finebaum and airing their grievances for all of us to suffer through.
So yes, it is a sad day. And the Auburn spirit with triumph, as so many have said. But can we just for once get our heads out of the fog and see what is really at stake in this world?