The trees were more than just a gathering place for celebrating. They became a symbol. A symbol of victory. A symbol of achievement. A symbol of pride. Whenever alumni return to Auburn (myself included), they always visit Toomer's Corner to get a glimpse of that symbol and remind themselves that Auburn is a place where the good is still considered good.
And some pathetic man decided to destroy that symbol. Don't buy into his claim that he killed the tree over a 30 year old grudge. Whether his claim is true or not, the claim long ago lost any legitimacy. No, what this man did was out of pure envy and hatred of the good. Consider his timing... Alabama, who early in the season was rated tops in the nation, was defeated by Auburn right before he committed his act. Auburn, who went on to win the 2010 BCS National Championship, displayed the height of achievement in college football. And Auburn fans rightly celebrated that achievement. Consider his target... he didn't target just any trees at Auburn. He didn't target the stadium where the games are played. He didn't even target the players or students (thank God). Instead, he targeted the symbol of success. The symbol of good. And consider his method... it wasn't done in full day light, proud of this destruction, but done discretely in the dead of night. This man displayed envy and hatred. And it wasn't just fan rivalry.
In sports, fans can become bitter rivals. For many people, it involves light-hearted mocking and taunting. For some, it even includes cheering when a rival team loses. Occasionally, fans become overly impassioned and start fights or perform stupid pranks. But to stoop to the level of destroying a rival's symbol of success involves depth of hatred that goes beyond pure rivalry. As Ayn Rand said:
"Envy is regarded by most people as a petty, superficial emotion and, therefore, it serves as a semihuman cover for so inhuman an emotion that those who feel it seldom dare admit it even to themselves . . . . That emotion is: hatred of the good for being the good." ~ Ayn Rand, "The Age of Envy"This man is the embodiment of envy. He hated the good because it was good. What he did was viscous, unconscionable, and unforgivable. If indeed he is the guilty one, he deserves whatever he finds in jail.
But I will not end on a note of sadness. Instead, let us re-live one of the greatest moments in Auburn history - the celebration of the BCS national championship at Toomer's Corner. Let this be our memory. Let us always celebrate the good for being good.