Rivals United

Down south in Alabama we learn one of two things early in life, it is either “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle”. There has not and probably never will be an in between. You root for one and loathe the other. Anywhere else someone could ask you your sign and you would probably give them a sign of the zodiac of your birthday. In Alabama there are only two signs. It is a big “A” for Alabama or an “AU” set in one another for Auburn.

Another thing people down south know not to do is to jump in the middle of a fight between two brothers. If you take sides eventually you’ll wind up fighting both of them and you turn out to be the enemy.

I know a family of brothers several years ago that would play softball together. They would argue among themselves and you would think that they were going to get into a knock-down-drag-out fight before the game was over.  But yet somehow they would almost always beat their opponents.  I don’t know if that was a psychological approach they had to get opponents off guard and beat them or if they just really argued that much among themselves. Some years later I found out that they really argue that much among themselves. But most importantly they still looked out for each other.  And just like those brothers that fight among themselves it goes the same for almost all other Alabamians.

When the truth came out about the man, someone who claimed to be an Alabama fan, poisoned the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, it was true Alabama fans who rose up and started the Facebook page ‘Tide for Toomer’s’. Not only that, thousands of dollars were raised to help save the trees. Some people say they are only trees but to Auburn fans they are a heritage. And “heritage” is a very big word in the South. Alabamians came together to try to save that heritage. I for one also joined and hope and pray the trees can be saved.

Then the storms and tornadoes hit West and North Alabama back in April. It was true Auburn fans who rose up and started the ‘Toomer’s for Tide’ Facebook page. Auburn players, coaches and fans went to help their fellow Alabamians in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. They treaded into what is generally considered enemy territory. But yet they weren’t there to gloat or brag about beating Alabama in the Iron Bowl and winning college football’s national championship last year. They were there to help and console them any way they could.

Personally I grew up an Alabama fan. My wife and I both are still Alabama fans and there are a lot of homes in the state of Alabama that is considered a house divided. My home is worse than that. My daughter-in-law is a big Auburn fan and my son is a big Texas Longhorn fan. You wouldn’t believe the funny looks and comments we get when we go Christmas shopping and our buggy is full of Alabama, Auburn and Texas shirts and hats. My wife and I are also big Troy Trojan fans. We would attend games at Troy University so I chose to root more for the Troy Trojans than the others. I tell people I’m still an Alabama fan but if they ever play Troy I’ll be rooting for the Trojans. I love to see our home teams win. We all do. Whether it’s Troy, Auburn or Alabama. And when the two big rivals play each other this fall I’ll be rooting for my Alabama Crimson Tide to win. I may be one of the few that roots for the other team after the Iron Bowl when they have an opportunity to win a bigger prize like Auburn did last year. 

Even though my heart was broken for those affected by the storms it also swelled with pride to see two big rivals put aside their differences and help one another out.  So always remember if you’re not part of this big Alabama family please don’t jump in the middle of the fight.

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