Sports in Paradise By Dale Jones
As I have stated in the column before, I believe the Auburn vs. Alabama rivalry is the best rivalry in all of college sports. There are a number of pro sports rivalries that probably garner more national attention, but people all across the country are aware of the major clash that happens every November in this state.
When Harvey Updyke Jr. decided to call a sports radio talk show to claim he had poisoned the trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, he won the award for the top two bone-headed decisions of the century – one, for poisoning the trees with Spike 80DF, and two, for calling a radio show to admit it.
Auburn fans have been screaming ever since about the injustice to the very trees that they shower with toilet paper after winning football games.
Now it appears that some Aubies have taken justice into their own hands by attacking Updyke at an Opelika gas station on Thursday.
According to Updyke, his tires have been slashed in a Walmart parking lot, he and other family members have been threatened and his attorney, Glennon Threatt, Jr., says that he is concerned for his client’s safety.
Auburn fans, you might want to remember before you find yourselves in the slammer, that should the 62-year-old Updyke be found guilty of poisoning the trees, he could face as many as 10 years in jail.
Whatever the case may be, this madness has to stop.
This is the deep south, however, and this is Alabama and Auburn, so something tells me that the we have a better chance of seeing Democrats and Republicans sitting around the Washington Monument holding hands and singing Kumbaya then we do Tide and Tiger fans toning down the hatred.
According to Opelika Police, Updyke says he was attacked following his court appearance when he stopped to buy gas. He thinks it was a group of people, but he doesn’t remember because he says that he blacked out.
I don’t know what to believe.
Updyke obviously has some very serious issues. Based on the fact that the gas station has no security cameras and it appears that nobody saw the attack that happened at 1 in the afternoon, we are going to have to believe that the man was indeed attacked.
If that was the case, how pathetic!
Updyke poisoning the Toomer trees, equally pathetic!
Anyone planning to dismantle the newly christened Saban statue outside of Bryant-Denny, just stop right there.
Let’s all get back to tailgating, eating grilled chicken and burgers, telling a few Bama and Auburn jokes and enjoying the greatest game that there is.
Put down the poison, put down the crowbar, unclench your fist, and let’s act like we have just a LITTLE bit of class. Both of you!
Hit ‘em striaght
—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 firstname.lastname@example.org.