February 17th, 2011 01:29 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Auburn
Tags: Harvey Almorn Updyke, SI, Sports Illustrated, Toomer Corner
Kudos to Andy Staples of SI.com. The site’s college football specialist does the best job yet of explaining just what Harvey Almorn Updyke took from college football fans when he poisoned the 130-year-old oaks at Toomer’s Corner on the Auburn campus.
“By killing the trees, he stole all the memories that would have been made under their branches. Though the exact date isn’t know, the tradition of rolling Toomer’s Corner after a big Auburn win dates back to either 1962 or 1963. For almost 50 years, Auburn students have run, toilet paper in hand, to commemorate what they probably will later consider some of the greatest times in their lives. A student who rolled Toomer’s in the 1960s might have sent a child to Auburn in the 1980s. That child may have sent a child of his own to Auburn a few years ago. For three generations, rolling Toomer’s meant something in a state where college football victories mean everything.
The next generation won’t have that connection to the past. Even if the school brought in new trees, it wouldn’t be the same. A tradition, like an oak, has to grow from the earth. It needs years to take root.”
You can read all of Staples’ piece by clicking here. And you should. (There’s even a link to a 1964 Sports Illustrated story about Toomer’s Corner.)
As for Updyke, Staples is right on that front, too. “Only someone with a dark, dark heart would throw poison on something that has brought so much joy to so many.”
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