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All Together at Toomer's Corner
February 28, 2011
The attack on Auburn's oaks brings out the love in college rivals
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February 28, 2011

All Together At Toomer's Corner

The attack on Auburn's oaks brings out the love in college rivals

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I'm a Razorback Fan, but we here in Hog Country are ALL pulling for you guys and your beautiful trees.

—Sarah Nicholson

We are an LSU family and are truly saddened to see someone attack such a tradition... . Geaux SEC!

—Sarah Link Hitchcock

I am a Tennessee fan to the core, but I cannot even believe how MEAN this guy was to you.

—Taryn Hendrix Painter.

More remarkable was the appearance of a Facebook page called Tide for Toomer's, which since Feb. 17 has amassed 57,000 fans and raised more than $36,000 to try to save the oaks. While it has not escaped their notice that Updyke signed off Finebaum's show with the words "Roll damn Tide," most Auburn fans acknowledge that he doesn't represent the University of Alabama (which he never attended, Tide officials hastened to point out).

Updyke's alleged crime seems an extreme example of the intense partisanship pervading college athletics in general and SEC football in particular. The expression of that animosity straddles the line between passion and pathology. I remember sitting in a club in Columbus on the eve of the 2006 Ohio State--Michigan game, watching a show by a punk band called the Dead Schembechlers. (Out of respect for former Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler, who had died that morning, they soon renamed themselves the Bastard Sons of Woody.)

Between such half-screamed numbers as Bomb Ann Arbor Now; Wide Left: The Ballad of Mike Lantry; and I Wipe My A--with Wolverine Fur, lead singer Bo Biafra (not his real name) posed a question I found rather profound: "Who ever thought we would all love to hate so much?"

The trees that were poisoned are probably doomed. Yet their poisoner's most lasting legacy may be that he ended up turning down the hate.

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