Bama fans and Auburn fans need to relax!

Sports in Paradise By Dale Jones

I love SEC football just as much as the next guy. Maybe more.

During the off-season, I am one of those that can be flipping channels, and if I run across one of those “classic” games from 1987, I will stop and watch. I love college football.

All that being said, I think it is time that we put this whole “tree killing” thing into perspective.

Rivalries are good. No, they are great. They are the games that make people go out and by million-dollar travel trailers, cause them to name their children after former coaches or school colors, or inspire them to paint their houses red and white or orange and blue.

Rivalries also spur hate amongst the fans.

No, seriously!

Ask a White Sox fan how he feels about the Cubs. How much love is there between Ole Miss and Mississippi State? Yankees and Red Sox? I could go on and on.

Now, I use the word “hate” in the above paragraph loosely. I mean, Alabama fans don’t REALLY “hate” Auburn fans, right? Auburn fans aren’t really out to get Bama fans, are they?

There are married couples, siblings and business partners all across this great state that disagree on which team is the best, but they don’t go out of their way to harm each other or destroy property.
Up until now, it has all just been “in fun” to rag the fans of the other school.

But 62-year-old Harvey Almorn Updyke has taken things to a whole new level.

Now, I am not a huge fan of the Paul Finebaum show, and I don’t mean that because of Paul Finebaum. I like Paul. He is a great journalist, is knowledgeable about sports and does a good job. It is the 10 guys and 2 gals who, like clockwork, call this syndicated sports talk show every afternoon. Do these people have no life?

I know that there are people who listen on a regular basis, probably thousands of listeners.

So when “Al from Dadeville” called to tell the entire state of Alabama that he had poisoned the Toomer’s oaks, you have to ask yourself, what was he thinking?

What was he thinking when he poisoned the trees, and what was he thinking when he decided to call and tell the whole world what he had done?

I don’t care who you are or what team you pull for, but when it gets to the point that you are going to do physical harm to another person’s property, you have gone too far.

If you wear orange and blue and you are even considering driving out to Elmwood to put something on Bear Bryant’s headstone, that makes you a head case.

Are there classless fans on both sides? YES!

Are there Bama fans laughing at what this idiot did to the tress? YES!

Are there Auburn fans that want some sort of retaliation? YES!

People, please. Can we stop right now?

The game, in and of itself is one thing. Destroying property and causing harm is another.

Let’s all put away our containers of Spike 80 DF, our cans of spray paint, our guns and our swords.

We are talking about football.

To the Alabama faithful, let me say that if you are having fun with what “Al” did and think it is okay, you have problems.

To the Auburn faithful, the trees in question, while they hold sentimental value, are still just trees. Nobody died, and these are the same trees that YOU cover in toilet paper every time you win a game.

Everybody just chill!

Hit ‘em straight!

—Dale Jones is a reporter / sports columnist for Gulf Coast Newspapers and a Member of the Alabama Sports Writers Association. You can reach Dale at


Add Yours
  1. 1
    Nicket the Ewok Coach

    Agree, Cappy for once. AU will turn lemons into lemonade and make millions off the trees. Maybe we as AU fans can come up with a new tradition. Who knows?

  2. 4

    I agree woth you Cap, that this is the greatest rivalry in sports bar none but people that come from out of state don’t know how to play the rivalry game. UIts crucial that you know what to say and when to say it because in arivalry this intense you may get bit for saying the wrong thing. When you are on the golf course with the other side you don’t want to have to contend with SHUT-UP JUICE!!!!!!!!!

  3. 6

    This is the first time I’ve commented on the “story”. It was one guy who did it – was it tasteful? – no. It’s fraternal. It reminds me of the movie Revenge of the Nerds. Sort of a college prank gone wrong. I suppose after the rye grass seeding of the Iron Bowl score in front of the Bear’s statue; the putting on $cam’s jersey on the statue; the barner bumper stickers on our “oak trees” – I suppose it pissed off a loyal fan – I can guarantee that 99.9% of Bama fans didn’t shed one tear – it’s the fiercest rivalry IMHO in the country (and that’s not a narrow minded view) – this is what makes rivalries – there will ways be “hate” – always. What makes me angry is the hypocrisy of the do-goods – those guys/gals that claim they were so sad to see all of this – give me a break!

  4. 7
    Alex Hamilton

    Here’s a new AU tradition. How about coming out to support your Division 3 club football team? After all, when revelations begin to trickle out around May this year, it won’t take long for the rest to come out. And soon after, AU will be begging South Alabama for a home and home. Have fun with that, “No Dick” the Ewok.

    And remember kids, F AU isn’t just for referring to Florida Atlantic.

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