The Auburn University football season will begin in less than three months and for the first time in 50 years the students and fans won’t be able to roll Toomer’s Corner after a win.
Earlier this year, the 130-year-old oaks were poisoned by crazed Alabama fan Harvey Updyke. Updyke allegedly called a syndicated radio show based in Birmingham saying he had used Spike 80DF, also known as tebuthiuron, on the trees the weekend after the Iron Bowl.
He ended the call with “Roll Damn Tide.” Updyke was later arrested and charged with criminal mischief. He is currently out on bond.
The university confirmed that the herbicide commonly used to kill trees was applied “in lethal amounts” to the soil around the two trees, and that they likely can’t be saved.
The school replaced the contaminated soil and applied an activated charcoal to the roots to try to save the trees but it didn’t help.
I was on the campus yesterday visiting my sister and I got my first look at the trees since it was poisoned. You can definitely see that the trees are dying. The leaves are either brown or turning brown and a few of the branches have fallen off.
Last year, I actually had the opportunity to “roll” Toomer’s Corner after Cam Newton and Tigers defeated Arkansas. Although I’m not an Auburn fan (Georgia Bulldog fan till I die) I enjoyed participating in the game-winning tradition and screaming “War Eagle.”
My sister, Q, who is in her last year at Auburn, is very disappointed about not being able to enjoy that tradition anymore.
“Rolling Toomer’s Corner was a unique and fun experience,” she said. “It is disappointing that I won’t get to enjoy that tradition anymore in my last year as an undergrad.”
I was angry myself when I heard what had happen to the trees, but I was angrier at the pure hatred that was shown by Updyke. Its ok to talk trash about a school rival but to poison a school’s trees is just plain evil. And I hope the judge doesn’t show any mercy to this idiot.
The Auburn community will now have to find a new way to celebrate their football team’s wins. According to my sister, the student body hasn’t come up with any new plans yet.
They could always find another tree to teepee, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be the same. Whatever the students come up with, I hope it will some what ease the pain losing the oak trees. As for Updyke, after the judge sentence you to your punishment I hope he/she yells out “War Damn Eagle.”