Archived Story

Auburn traditions will roll on

Published 12:19pm Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Saturday was the end of an era for Auburn fans.

I didn’t grow up rolling the trees. I only joined the Auburn family roughly five years ago as a bright-eyed college freshman.

And the first few football games I attended, I didn’t even bother going down to Toomer’s Corner after the game. I guess I sound like a bad fan, but I usually tried to slip out and beat the traffic to get some food.

But like every Auburn fan, I have my Toomer’s Corner memories. What stands out the most was the night we won the national championship.

I wrote a story about that night for one of my classes at Auburn. I can still remember the crush of people around me – the streets were packed with people in every direction from the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue.

A few friends and I pushed our way through the masses, trying not to lose one another in the mayhem of euphoric fans. We took tons of pictures that night, and it’s a college memory that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

From throwing rolls of TP into the oaks (which I was never very good at) to chanting “It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger” with my fellow classmates, the memories I made at Toomer’s Corner are really something special.

Saturday I participated in that tradition for the last time – at least, the last time of things being the way they are, as the trees are finally being taken down after their poisoning in 2011.

We headed over to the corner after the A-Day “game” – the trees were already barely visible under the mounds of white toilet paper.

We squeezed our way through the crowds to lob our own rolls of paper toward the oaks. I missed by several feet, of course, but it’s the thought that counts.

We got our pictures, and we walked away.

People outside the “Auburn family” don’t really understand this tradition that’s said to date back to when they hung the ticker tape from telegraph up so people would know when Auburn had won an away game. When I told some of my out-of-state friends about the last roll, they made jokes about it.

It’s OK. It’s a tradition you can’t easily understand until you’ve experienced it yourself.

I’m not sure what else should be said about something that will never happen again. All I know is killing our trees can’t kill our spirit. Plans are already in place for a temporary solution to allow us to roll the corner, and we’ll move forward from this moment.

Because we believe in Auburn and love it!

James is a staff writer for The Outlook.