AUBURN FANDEMONIUM: AN EXERCISE IN RESTRAINT
Toomer or not Toomer-- that was the question. Whether 'tis nobler to have a picture in the mind than to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageously sauced fans? Translation: After Auburn's 17-10 win over Alabama, did we really want to dispel the quaint notion in our heads about this most- talked about of traditions?
In the end, we decided that, yes, if you're in Auburn on the day of a football win tis required to check out the rolling of Toomer's Corner.
I'm dreaming of a white Thanksgiving.
There are very few super-hyped phenomena that exceed expectations -- the Blue Grotto in Capri, the Sistine Chapel, Nutella, to name a few -- and the Rolling of Toomer's Corner at the intersection of Magnolia and College, turned out to be one of those. Before the final whistle even blew at the on Iron Bowl, Tiger fans began crusading, two-ply in hand, to the town square, diagonally across from Toomer's Drugs.
Call it Charmin's March.
Gathering under the big oaks, Auburn students used an open hand plus an index finger to signal the number of consecutive wins over Alabama, and, though their launching of the uncoiled rolls evoked oppressed civilians throwing rocks, there was little malice in the nighttime celebration. Fathers perched children on their shoulders and strolled through the crowds. Curious fans in houndstooth jackets went unmolested. Couples sealed the victory with dramatic kisses. It was how we imagine sports celebrations were in the 50s.
The band performs outside the stadium before kickoff.
We can't picture this level of restraint in, say, Baton Rouge, where we imagine their spin on this celebration would be to bust out diesel-fueled chain saws and topple the trees. And we don't want to even imagine what they'd do with the toilet tissue.
The nighttime backdrop only added to the ambiance. The street lights illuminated the streusel-ed trees while the five thousand or so people who were gathered below remained in the shadows. It felt as if this tradition had art direction. In the end, the Loveliest Village on the Plains proved to have the loveliest tradition we've encountered in our travels.
They say it costs $4,000 to clean up the mess of Toomer's Corner. And we say it's worth every penny.