B y Hunter Ford
The death of former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen is certainly sad news. Perhaps this is a time to take a few deep breaths and think about what is really important. College football, and all of its trappings, including fansites on the Internet, is a diversion; entertainment that allows its fans to vicariously live through their favorite teams and favorite players’ successes and failures.
Most of the dialog on the Internet is all in good-natured fun. But, I have seen a lot that crosses the line into blind hatred. I was glad to see current and former Alabama football players reach out through social media to send condolences to the Lutzenkirchen family. The Lutzenkirchens are also part of the University of Alabama family.
We, in Alabama, have seen some horrific examples of how fanaticism for football can turn ugly. We have also seen how the best of human nature can shine through the haze of rivalry. Auburn players and coaches went to Tuscaloosa to help rebuild homes after the devastating tornados of 2011.
The state of Alabama has a lot of problems. Being successful on the college football field has never been one of them. Treating each other with civility and respect, well…sometimes that has been a challenge.
I truly believe that the vast majority of Alabama and Auburn fans keep the rivalry in proper perspective. My prayer, in honor of Philip Lutzenkirchen, is that this football season, everyone can do the same.