In the South we take our “traditions” seriously, and that comes through loud and clear in regards to our football teams. Rivalry runs deep down here. After Auburn won the SEC Championship in 2010 (they went on to win the National Championship), needless to say there were some folks who weren’t happy, and unfortunately an Alabama fan (no offense to actual Alabama grads, this guy was not one) decided the ultimate revenge would be to poison the “Auburn Oaks”. These trees had become part of one of Auburn’s most cherished traditions. After every victory, fans go to what is called “Toomer’s Corner” and TP the trees (throw rolls of toilet paper to decorate the limbs for those of you have never participated in such behavior). This has become a beloved tradition following an Auburn victory.
So this guy, Harvey Updyke, is so furious, he travels to Auburn and poisons the trees. What a guy. But wait it gets better. He then calls up the Paul Fienbaum show (a radio show in Birmingham that is now broadcast daily on the SEC TV Network) and proceeds to spew venom about how horrible Auburn is to have “stolen” the championship from Alabama. He then proceeds to brag to Mr. Finebaum (on a national radio show mind you) that he has just poisoned Auburn’s precious oak trees. The story unfolded from there and you can go online and watch an actual ESPN special about the Auburn/Alabama rivalry where you can see this guy, who went to prison for a while for this by the way. Really, could I make this stuff up?
Auburn tried to save the trees (they have an outstanding Horticulture program) but announce that they are indeed, poisoned to the extent that they will die…and they ultimately did.
The story does have a happy ending…on February 14th Auburn replanted their beloved oaks and the tradition lives on!