We’ve been patient. We’ve tried to forgive. We’ve wanted to move on. Days after November 26, 2010, a man with evil in his heart drove to Auburn and stole something from the Auburn people that had been part of where we gather, what we do, and the welcome mat to our university for almost 100 years of generations.
Time goes by, with our iconic trees being replaced by wires for the 2013 season, and then by two, new permanent oaks at the corner of College and Magnolia. One of the trees has been replaced again. And every time I look at that corner now, I long for a day I’ll never see. A day where those trees don’t look new. A day where that corner feels old again.
The sad part is that the closest I’ll ever come to seeing that corner look and feel old again is going to be if I live another 60 years. And frankly by that point in time I doubt I’d be going to games. No, what I remember as a child, celebrating in 1993, 1995, and in 1997 in Auburn after beating Alabama are memories that I know I can’t quite reach back and connect with the same way ever again. Now part of that is growth, because man has Auburn changed. Another part of that is a Pieology where a bar should be. Pieology should be put out of business and someone should resurrect Bodega immediately. But the main part of it for me are those two new trees.
Which brings me to this...
The fact that we had been subjected to hurt, insults, having something stolen from us, and had to deal with yet another attempt at stealing our joy from 2010 was hard. It’s enough to make you a little crazy and start thinking Auburn’s the problem sometimes. When people don’t let you, an Auburn person, enjoy a season, a player, trees, traditions, etc. that are uniquely Auburn and especially that year tried to steal all of it from you, it’s hard to know where to direct your frustration sometimes.
Harvey Updyke made the direction of that anger extremely easy. He encompassed the Cam Newton investigation, and everyone who wasn’t us telling us that our moment in the sun after 53 years would be taken away from us. He represented the worst offender in terms of a fanbase. And when the thought that a program that had been robbed of national title opportunities for decades finally kicked down the door, he took matters into his own hands to ensure that “order” could be restored, by reminding us that we should be allowed to have joy.
By doing what he did, Harvey also committed a crime. And owned up to it gleefully. He’s been tried by a jury, and found guilty. He’s been asked to pay restitution. He’s been asked to stay away from athletic events in the state. He’s been spotted at football games, such as the Alabama/LSU National Title game in early 2012. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison for his crimes in 2013, serving a mere 76 days in jail in Lee County.
Beyond the emotion that goes with experiencing theft of something that cannot be replaced or replicated, there is this whole thing of this man managing to avoid justice. Furthermore, this man has thumbed his nose at the law in which he was told to abide by, and has failed to pay restitution, as Harvey has paid less than $7,000 of an $800,000 bill. Harvey has managed to create a level of damage that cannot be restored, and the upheaval at Toomer’s Corner since is his responsibility. This is a man who has not served justice, a man who has not followed judges orders, and a man who seems to enjoy the celebrity that sadly has gone with committing a crime. And now, amidst being in violation of a judge’s orders, Harvey is a man who continues to use a platform given to him for reasons that I will never understand to play the role of a victim...and to insult Auburn.
Harvey Updyke should be in jail. He has willingly missed payments and hearings around this for years. Now, he has the motivated Lee County District Attorney on his tail. He has managed to use his notoriety as a way of getting to games, I’m sure having financial support, and insulting the people he hurt. This stopped being about dead trees in 2013 for Auburn University. What this has been about since the day it happened is justice.
Which leads me to the only game I’m paying close attention to today...
LSU at Alabama
Beat their ass like they stole something from you, LSU. Not because you owe us a favor, but because the only way for Harvey Updyke to feel pain isn’t going to come from the guilt he should feel for what he did, but from his beloved Tide losing a football game. And because those people cheering that embarrassing segment on Finebaum (aired by the SEC Network), don’t think that the man who committed a crime did anything wrong. It’s easy to get defensive at what I’m about to say, but they don’t represent all of them. I refuse to believe there are more people like that in the world than there are with common sense (though this world surprises me more and more each day). But for those specific folks that feed Harvey Updyke’s twisted ego, and for Harvey, a criminal, who has such a warped view of the world that today matters so much to, I want nothing but heartbreak for each and every single one of them. Beat their ass, LSU, and enjoy yourselves, your culture, and your way of living while there today, knowing that it’s all enough. There’s no need to inflict damage on them the way one of theirs did to us. The fact that you, like us, exist while they’re on top and still love who you are is more frustration to that segment of fandom than anything you could destroy over there. So again, beat their ass.
Western Kentucky at Arkansas
Chad Morris is going to be fired this year and Auburn’s name is going to get invoked in a lot of silly season talk because of it. You know why. There’s a lot of rooting interest on one side of the Auburn sphere that will find themselves rooting for Western Kentucky today so that Morris is fired on Sunday and this process picks up steam. For my part I think the train has left the station on us being involved in the talk of silly season, and it’s going to suck. Because it steals from the two biggest games of the year, both in Auburn. For that reason, knowing we’re going to get roped in on a lot of talk in November about Gus and Arkansas, I’d rather do it with the prospect of Arkansas making a coaching change, instead of it being a definite, since, you know, I’d like to enjoy and win the rest of our schedule. For that reason, WOO PIG SOOIE.
This week’s Index is a little condensed, frankly because the SEC sets this weekend up to be about Alabama and LSU every year. It sucks, the game will probably suck, and we’re invest energy into something we have no part in and should want no part of. But it’s a BYE week so cook some chili at the house, let your dog get to enjoy you being a little less scary around the TV, and maybe even use this weekend to get out and enjoy a nice, cool fall day.
With that, here’s my rooting interests (highlighted in bold) for the rest of the SEC games:
- Missouri at Georgia - DUH
- Appalachian State at South Carolina - Eli Drinkwitz is a guy to keep an eye on in silly season either this year or the next. Plus South Carolina is about as useful to me now as a screen door is on a submarine.
- New Mexico State at Ole Miss - Look man I just enjoy watching the world burn. And Rich Rodriguez lose it in a box.
- Vandy at Florida - Normally I’d root for Vandy because I feel sorry for them and because to hell with Florida. But on the off chance Mizzou can do the deal today and we finish Georgia off next week, it sure would be nice to see someone else win the SEC East!
- Tennessee at Kentucky - Mark Stoops is allegedly a good football coach, so I’m told. So good, that he’s probably the right fit for Florida State. Or he’s fine to probably never have a 10-win season again at Kentucky while not getting fired. Either way, he’s not an Alabama graduate who doesn’t understand vegetables. Tennessee is getting better. Which, yeah, ok that’s fine. They still aren’t getting better quick enough to challenge Alabama year over year. Plus this ain’t basketball. And last year happened, and I’ll never be ok with it.
That’s all I’ve got for this week friends! Feel free to comment below with your rooting interests today and how they may best impact Auburn!