Rivalries are a part of sports.
The camaraderie that comes from rooting for your team as loudly and proudly as the other team's fans root for theirs unifies us in a way that not many other things do.
Sometimes things can get bitter and go over the line, as they have in Auburn, AL, where a man claiming to be an Alabama fan has poisoned trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner.
Toomer's Corner is the historical gathering place of Auburn fans after Tigers games. Auburn fans enshroud the two trees in massive amounts of toilet paper to celebrate a victory.
A man calling himself "Al from Dadeville" called a local radio show the day before the discovery of the poisoning and claimed responsibility for the heinous act. He ended his confessional call with the words, "Roll Damn Tide."
Rivalries are good for sports. With them, an otherwise meaningless game can take on the magnitude of a playoff game. There is an energy to a rivalry game that is not found when the teams are not heated rivals.
However, the animosity has to remain within the confines of the stadium and even there it has to be controlled.
When "Al," or whatever his name is, poisoned those trees, he poisoned what was a great college sports rivalry. Any Alabama fan who has heard about this should be sick with embarrassment and shame. They should be ashamed that one of their own would stoop to this kind of behavior.
If I were the president of the University of Alabama, I would be on the phone with the president of Auburn right now asking how I might be able to help. I would be on the radio right now asking anyone within the sound of my voice to bring "Al" to the authorities. An offer of help is not an admission of guilt and if this moron is claiming to be an Alabama fan, he needs to be shown that there is a huge difference between team spirit and destruction of private property.
I'm sure if he had thought about it for a moment, he could have found a better way to show his 'Bama pride without killing trees thought to be more than a century old. Why not toilet paper the trees with paper emblazoned with the Alabama logo? That was just off the top of my head. No real harm done, but a message is still sent.
I mean, really, why did he stop there? Why not kill the eagle that flies before the games too?
The funny part is that while "Al" may have won the battle, he will eventually lose the war. I am not from Alabama, so I had no dog in the fight before now.
However, I am an Auburn fan.
I hope they save those trees. I hope "Al" goes to jail. And every time Auburn plays Alabama, I hope the Tigers put an epic beatdown on the Tide.
War Damn Eagle!