Gather round, children... let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, a fine Southern academic land-grant institution had a crazy, quaint tradition. It seems that after big football wins over their hated rivals, they would use toilet paper to decorate some historic oak trees that were positioned on a street corner on the edge of their campus. After these wins, they would whoop and holler and head right on over to those trees and go crazy.
That sounds really stupid, doesn't it?
Well, as a matter of fact, it does, but this story isn't about Auburn... it's about Alabama. Auburn fans decorate trees, Alabama fans murder them.
That's right. Late in 2010, after Auburn beat Alabama in an historic comeback, an Alabama fan named Harvey Updyke traveled to Auburn from his home in Dadeville and poisoned those two oak trees. You are not misreading these facts; a grown man who was a retired Alabama Highway Patrolman made a conscious decision to buy a highly poisonous pesticide and drive 25 miles under the cover of darkness to poison a couple of damn trees. And do you know WHY this man did this? Because he errantly thought that Auburn fans rolled those trees 27 years prior. I mean, he pretty much did this on a whim.
For those of you who don't know, Alabama fans are a special kind of crazy.
The thing I hate about Alabama fans is that when they are good they pop up everywhere, spouting their "ROOOOWWWW TAHD" bullshit, flying those flags, and buying up everything crimson and houndstooth that they can find. These people worship at the feet of Eli Gold and refer to a cheating, drunk womanizer like Bear Bryant as "The Great Man". These people believe that Ken Stabler and Joe Namath are upstanding citizens rather than the drunk, worthless, white trash, legacy riding pieces of garbage that they are. Nothing disgusts me more than venturing out into Nashville only to see Tennessee residents who are Alabama fans everywhere. Those types of people, those who were born and raised in one state only to sell their loyalty to another, are the absolute worst kinds of human beings who draw air on the planet, and those people are loudest and most vocal when their "team" is good and the home team is bad. From 1995 to 2001, none of these people, these "Tennesseans" who cast their lot with the evil empire of Alabama football, actually existed. But today, they are loud and proud and obnoxious, as if their bandwagon allegiance to another state's football team makes them honorable in some way.
It isn't a pretty picture, is it?
Well, it gets worse. When you venture into the state of Alabama you find people who name their sons Paul and Bear and their daughters Jo, after Namath. You find cankles and and Alabama moo-moos and raggedy men with yellowed teeth and bloodshot eyes that still pay homage to "the Bahr". You find the Tennessee ex-pat Paul Finebaum and his legions of Alabama misfits that he leads around by the nose. You find double-wides, dirty wife beaters, 12-packs of Milwaukee's Best, and fathers who would kill their sons if they decided to cheer for Auburn. Of course, the college of choice isn't a concern, because none of the sons are bound for college, just like their fathers before them.
I hate them. I hate them with a hate so palpable I can visualize it. I hate them not only because in 1990, they pulled off the luckiest of the lucky-bounce wins you've ever seen and not only because Tennessee is currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak to Alabama... I hate them because they cheat. They always have, and they always will. Alabama people know that if they don't cheat, they aren't Alabama. They cheated under Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings, and Nick Saban alike. The NCAA even branded Alabama as "serial repeat violators". They cheat because they are Alabama and they won't stop until they are put out of business.
I know within reason what is going to happen on Saturday night. Tennessee is going to fold, Alabama is going to roll, and over 20,000 Alabama-fan rednecks are going to be left in Neyland Stadium singing that stupid fight song of theirs. Sadly, most of those rednecks won't even be citizens of the state of Alabama but Tennesseans by birth. When I see that scene, that's what I will remember... the Tennesseans who have jumped on the Alabama bandwagon. And I have a message for all of those turncoat, good-for-nothing, self-esteem-so-low-you-seek-out-a-cheater "fans"... when the worm turns, what colors will you wear? Because the worm will turn. And it will turn soon.
Write it the fuck down.
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(Follow me on Twitter: @MikeSlivesEgo)