The legendary and historic oaks in Toomer’s corner at the University of Auburn will be no more. The school has announced that the dying trees will be uprooted after one final roll planned for the Tiger’s April 20th spring game. The oaks, which have been a symbol of the campus and a treasured companion for alumni everywhere, were poisoned by an Alabama fan following the Tide’s 2010 loss to the Tigers.
Harvey Updyke, the man allegedly responsible for killing the trees, is currently awaiting his next trail date which is set for April 8th of this year. Back in 2011, Updyke was indicted on two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, a felony charge; two counts of desecrating a venerated object, a misdemeanor charge; and two counts of unlawful damage, vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility, a felony charge.
So basically, if you thought being a lunatic fan and poisoning some oaks wasn’t a crime — it is.
“The Oaks at Toomer’s Corner have been a part of Auburn tradition for generations,” Debbie Shaw, Auburn University vice president for alumni affairs and executive director of the Auburn Alumni Association, said in a statement. “Their removal will in no way diminish the Auburn Spirit, which has grown even stronger during these past two years.”
There was some hope that the oaks could be saved, and after a year of desperation the university has come to the decision that the trees which have been with the school for as long as anyone can remember, are not going to survive.
But the school, it’s students and alumni are going to send the oaks out on a high note, rolling them one last time before they are removed. For those who don’t know, ‘rolling’ is a tradition at Auburn that involves throwing rolls of toilet paper all over the the trees, essentially TP-ing them. The tradition dates back to the 1950s and has become a symbolic gesture for student today.
That symbolism will be drenched in emotion on April 20th, as the gaping hole in Toomer’s Corner that will exist after the oaks are gone will be unbearable for some.
The legendary oaks at Auburn symbolize more than just something for alumni, they’re a symbol of college football itself. To put into perspective just how deep the love and passion for college football goes, and a love for your alma mater for that matter, these trees are so special that we’re basically eulogizing them as though they were actually living, breathing students.
But they were more than that, and now that they’re gone, Auburn –and college football– is going to be a slightly different place.