The Shot Heard ‘Round the State.

I originally wrote this post in February of 2011, after a particularly crazy Alabama fan poisoned a couple of old, important, and sentimental Auburn trees.

Yes, he killed historic trees. Because of football.

I thought it would destroy our state, but miraculously, the two teams rallied together, and Alabama raised money to help fix Auburn’s trees.

(They couldn’t be fixed, for the record.)

Then a few months later, Auburn returned the favor and raised money to help Alabama with its city’s horrific tornado damage.

It is now two years later, and the day before the biggest game the two teams have ever played, perhaps with a National Championship for one or the other on the line. And the love is forgotten – all that can be found are Hashtags of Hate.

And so I suspect that the damage done back in 2011 has simply been simmering below the surface, and my prediction may yet come true…


The Date: 2042.

The Setting: Ali’s kids are over visiting my ancient grandmotherly self, and the following conversation occurs…

“Gramamma, why is there an East Alabama and a West Alabama? And why is there that huge orange and red wall up between them??”

Well, it all started when your mother was a little girl like you are now…

You see, there was this sport called Football.  It’s long been banned from the country now, for the very reason that we have two Alabamas…

There were two big football teams in our state – and they had the biggest rivalry in the entire nation.  But it was a good rivalry – after all, football wasn’t football without having a rival, so although the teams and fans were constantly “bickering” (or, as they called it back then, “Trash Talking), they were actually enjoying themselves – that’s what made the sport fun for them.

(Of course, I myself was just a marginal fan, so I would have preferred there to have been no booing, bickering, or trash talking, but your Grandfather was quite the fan, so I obliged and cheered, but never booed.)

Anyway.  The problem with rivalries is that while most people are just having fun, there are always the crazy people who don’t get the memo that sports fandom is supposed to be enjoyable and light-hearted, and think the whole thing is serious and “life or death”.

Well one day after the two teams had won back to back National Championships and the hype (and, therefore, the rivalries,) were as high as they’d ever been, one of those crazy people did something over the top, horrible, and even criminal.  He poisoned ancient trees that were an integral part of the other team’s campus, and that had unbelievably huge sentimental value to the other team.

Which led to outrage on both sides…

(Thankfully, almost all of the fans of the team that the crazy man was associated with were horrified at his actions, also.)

But the extremists on both sides turned it ugly…

Which led to the non-extremists getting mad at the extremists…

Which led to retribution…

Which led to Civil War.

You know how your Mommy puts you and your brother in time out when you start arguing?  Well, the reason she does that is so that you can both cool down and quit being so angry, so that you don’t keep ramping up your fighting and end up doing or saying something you regret.

Well, no one could put the entire state of Alabama in a time out.

And that’s why we have East Alabama and West Alabama.

EastAlabamaWestAlabama

You might want to pray for our state tomorrow.