First off, anyone who has an even passing awareness of anything I ever say knows that I am the BIGGEST Alabama fan there could be. And I don't just say that cause I weigh over 300 pounds.
I was 3 or 4 years old when I first said the words, "Roll Tide"
The words were taught to me by JW Blackerby. Everyone around town knew him as "Little Man", one of the nicest and funniest people they had ever met.
I just knew him as Grandaddy.
In the early morning hours of my childhood, he would wake me early enough to watch the sunrise on his front porch. He would drink coffee. I would drink hot chocolate, pretend it was coffee. I was his "right hand man", as he told his friends.
He taught me how to fish.
Saturdays in the fall were Alabama Saturdays.
I would sit on the floor in the living room of his house that I grew up in and marvel at these heroes that I watched every week, and the colorful langauge my grandaddy used as he would yell instructions at them during the game
"RUN YOU SUMBITCH RUN"
It was everything to him, and it was the only team I knew there was that was worth rooting for.
I didn't know until I was a teenager that there really were Auburn fans, and that people really felt about Auburn and other teams the way I learned from Grandaddy to feel about Alabama.
I had only met a handful of AU fans when I was in middle school, and I didn't take them seriously.
I was 9 when Alabama defeated the loud-mouthed Hurricanes of Miami in that awesome Sugar Bowl of 1993. This time last year was the first time, as an adult, that I have known the feeling of being the National Champions
The man who loved Bama more than anyone I ever knew, who taught me the meaning of Saturdays in the south, died 11 years ago this August.
I like to imagine he is in Heaven right now, with Bear Bryant, enjoying watching a modern day version of The Bear roam the sidelines in Tuscaloosa and I'm sure he is proud of his team. I hope he is proud of the man his youngest grandson has grown up to be.
The Iron Bowl has always been a heated rivalry. One that had to be put to an end around the turn of the last century. The game wasn't even played for about 40 years because it had gotten too heated and violent.
I fear it is headed in that direction again, and many fans on both sides are suggesting that it may have gone too far again
About a week or so after the 2010 Iron Bowl, a man who calls himself "Al from Dadeville" claims that he traveled to Auburn, which is 30 miles from his home. Armed with Spike 80 DF, an herbicide used to kill trees, he claims that he poisoned the Live Oaks at Toomer's Corner. He made these claims in a phone call to radio show host Paul Finebaum. Auburn University has confirmed that samples sent off to a lab have tested positive for very lethal amounts of the chemical. The trees are not expected to survive.
For those who don't know, rolling the trees at Toomer's Corner after a victory (Or anything negative happening to Alabama) is one of the most recognized traditions in College Football, no matter what you think of it
Now, as I have stated before, I can't love the University of Alabama any more than I do. And conversely, I can't HATE Auburn University any more than I do.
I want Auburn to lose every game they play. Ever. By 100 points.
I want them to get into trouble with the NCAA and be on probation.
I want all of their best players to be declared ineligible.
I honestly enjoy anything bad that can happen to Auburn's team, or football program in general.
But some things, however ridiculous they may seem to outsiders, are just sacred. College Football is treated like a religion in this country, and that is no more evident than in the south. We root for the team of our dad's dad and to hell with the team of yours.
We name our children after head coaches and players. We hold the very soil on these campuses to be sacred.
These college campuses are our churches. Our Holy Land. And we are faithful followers, whether we even attended the universities or not.
What has happened to the Live Oaks in Auburn is a damn shame. And it is in NO way a representation of the University of Alabama, or it's fans. Fans like myself, who wish every imaginable ill on AU most all of the time, but would NEVER stoop so low as to destroy or deface any of it's traditions, landmarks, or monuments. These things are sacred
I understand how society works, and I am well aware that there is alot of hurt and anger around this state right now. There are Auburn fans who actually feel like a family member has just died. I am sure there are alot of people who would love to do anything they can to get back at Alabama fans, who they perceive as all being responsible for this.
I have a feeling that things are about to get really ugly, and I hope that it can somehow be contained to the football field when the teams meet in Novermber. But it probably won't, and the next time something like this happens it will probably be worse than poisoning trees.
- Eric Blackerby
- My name is Eric. My love of and loyalty to the University of Alabama football team is unparalleled and completely inappropriate. I hate all other teams, and wish them peril. Also, you can hear my music at www.reverbnation.com/EricBlackerby or www.youtube.com/EricBlackerbyMusic