No group of fans in North America feels for another such fierce, animal hatred that boils between fans of two university football teams in the South of the United States.
The first meeting took place in February 1893. Auburn won 32:22, but a dispute immediately arose between the universities, which has not been resolved to this day, almost 120 years later. The fact is that Alabama considered this match to be the last game of the 1892 season, and Auburn – the first game of the 1893 season. It would seem, why break spears because of such nonsense? But the stubborn Southerners immediately disliked each other, and further relations went downhill.
The teams were always squabbling over all sorts of, the most petty issues – who would pay the players’ expenses during away matches, how to appoint referees, where to settle whom… It ended with the fact that in 1907 both universities decided not to play against each other anymore. And they didn’t play. Exactly 40 years!
During the voluntary separation, both teams have grown into legends and traditions. The Alabamians dubbed themselves the “Crimson Stream” after playing in their famous scarlet jerseys, they won the match in the pouring rain and in half a meter of mud. Fans have an easily recognizable cry: Roll Tide! (“Roll, stream!”), often modified in Roll Damn Tide! or Roll Fucking Tide!
The traditions of the Auburn people are no less rich. Take at least their cry: War Eagle! (“Battle Eagle!”) There is a legend according to which once in the century before last a Civil War veteran came to the match with his own eagle, allegedly saved by him from wounds on the battlefield (don’t even ask – this is the South, it has its own reality). And at the most crucial moment of the match, the proud bird soared into the air and circled over the stadium. And all the Auburn fans screamed: “Battle Eagle!” After that, the feathered war veteran naturally hit the ground and turned around… No, not a good fellow and not even a general of the Southern Army Robert Lee, but a dead eagle. Therefore, he gave his life for a just cause. Auburn won. Since then, the Tigers fans have been greeting each other when they meet with this particular cry.
And in downtown Auburn there is a patch called “Toomer’s corner”, named after the pharmacy located there. Two century-old oak trees grow on it, and whenever something important and good happens in Auburn (most often on the days of football victories), students and residents of the city run to the oaks and throw toilet paper rolls on them until it covers both trees with white garlands. This tradition is called “to roll the trees”, and about why it is so important for this story – just below.