There has been much debate regarding which pair of teams make up the most intense rivalry in the land. Since I was employed by nine institutions, I’ve seen my share of intense rivalries. USC-UCLA is one that comes to mind. As far as one you might not be as familiar with, one year when I was at Western Carolina, one of our students sneaked into Appalachian State’s basketball arena and broke off one of the arms of the statue of their Mountaineer (ASU’s mascot). Undoubtedly, many of you can “rival” (or exceed) that story but, for the ultimate in rivalries, there are none, repeat, none that are more intense than Auburn-Alabama (Auburn gets mentioned first because they won most recently.
While the Western Carolina move could have been considered slick, another action, taken by a someone who thought she was just another ardent Alabama fan, was wrong. Dead wrong. We all know that “fan” is short for “fanatic” but, independent of the contraction, there’s absolutely no explanation or justification for the actions of 28-year-old Adrian Laroze Briskey. Arguably (now), the most hot-blooded Alabama fan, Briskey was pushed
to over the edge after hearing a group of women joking immediately following the Alabama-Auburn football game. One of them, Michelle Shepherd, actually was a Miami Heat fan and, apparently, had said that ‘Bama’s loss wasn’t as bad as the Miami Heat losing.
Naturally, alcohol played a part in Briskey’s actions but it defies credulity that someone a mere 28 years old could be that passionate about anything! Both Briskey and Shepherd were Crimson Tide fans, they were invited to the same party, although the police report says they didn’t know each other. After the game, they got into an argument and one shot the other. It was a senseless killing, leaving three young children without a mother. Maybe Briskey was more closely connected to the program, i.e. the mother of player or wife of a coach, it would be understandable to take a game more seriously than a fan. But a fan?
Stan Van Gundy was once asked how long it would take him to get over losing in the NBA finals and he said:
“I’ll let you know.”
Too bad Adrian Briskey couldn’t get over Alabama’s.