Toomer's Corner was home to two renowned oak trees that passionate football fans of the Auburn Tiger's football program held dearly. Unfortunately, poisoning of those trees is culminating in their removal on Tuesday, per Evan Belanger of AL.com.
University officials wisely have a plan in place, though, to renovate the area and keep the historic location as a significant part of the program's tradition.
As John Zenor of the Associated Press points out, the school is in the preparation stages of a seven-figure plan to keep the area a hot spot for the Auburn faithful after it was poisoned by an arch-rival Alabama Crimson Tide fan.
The toilet paper rolling of the oak trees dates back at least 40 years, according to Zenor. Auburn enthusiasts engage in the act after big victories. The fact that an opposing fan was able to ruin a key element of winning a big game for such a renowned program seems unfair.
After the Auburn spring game on Saturday (dubbed as "A Day" by the school), much of the record crowd of 83,401 in attendance at Jordan-Hare Stadium ran over to Toomer's Corner to roll the tree for one final time, per CBS Sports.
Brandon Marcello of the Birmingham News captured the stunning scene that evening, as fans certainly didn't hold anything back for the trees' grand finale:
Brandon Marcello @bmarcello
The view tonight at Toomer's Corner. http://t.co/C8wHNYNSVp4/21/2013, 3:04:03 AM
Belanger provides more specifics on Tuesday about the renovation, noting that officials intent on implementing the plan have taken more than 10,000 fans’ ideas into consideration.
The project should begin with new trees being planted in early 2014, and additional seating and a tree-lined path will be added to Samford Park. It should be completed by the start of the next football season.
Lumber from the fallen trees will be carved into keepsakes that Auburn fans can purchase, with the proceeds going toward a new scholarship fund. That is a wonderful way to put a positive spin on something that is perceptibly a complete devastation.
University President Jay Gogue maintained that progressive, optimistic ideology, stating earlier in the month that the school will have to make do with what it has now. The rolling tradition will simply have to continue somewhere other than Magnolia Avenue—but it won't stop.
Heavy sentimentality is attached to the oaks that are being chopped down today, as they are associated with so many of the signature wins the Tigers and their fans have enjoyed.
In Zenor's piece, he interviews a third-generation graduate named Will Collier, who refers to the chopping down of the oaks as a funeral or wake of sorts, rather than a celebration of the past. That is not the unanimous opinion of Auburn students past and present, but it shows just how important this is for many.
In that context, the decision to renovate the area rather than leave it alone as an historical site of the past will allow future Tiger fans to enjoy the tradition in a different way.
Even though it won't be the same without the familiar two oaks, this unique tradition is thankfully one that can be salvaged by Auburn in the years to come, courtesy of a sound, tasteful renovation proposition.
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