Rivalries often create hostility amongst the participating teams. Fans of these teams despise each other over trivial matters. Such has been the case in the heated in state rivalry between Auburn and Alabama. The rivalry has ignited passion and hatred, however in times of tragedy both sides have supported each other.
Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen passed away early Sunday morning after sustaining injuries from a severe car crash in LaGrange, Georgia. The death resonates in both Tuscaloosa and Auburn. Lutzenkirchen's younger sister Abby plays soccer for the Crimson Tide. Philip's affection for his sister transcended the rivalry. He had this to say about her commitment to the Tide:
"Honestly, I was just so proud of her. I would have been proud of her wherever she decided to play. She is blood, and I knew I would have to root for her even though she was going to be wearing the dreaded crimson and gray."
Alabama players reached out to offer support to the Lutzenkirchen family. C.J. Mosley offered his condolences via Twitter stating that Philip was a "great man". Alabama tight end O.J. Howard stated that Lutzenkirchen offered him "great advice" when the two spoke. Abby Lutzenkirchen tweeted a photo with her brother with the caption reading: "My brother is invincible.Not only my hero but my best friend.Thanks for all the prayers and support to our family."
Philip Lutzenkirchen is the perfect example of someone who had pride for his university and a deeper devotion to what really matters in life. At the end of the day life is fragile. Family will overrule any biases that form from rivalry. This is really a story about a brother, sister, and two communities that sometimes seem a world apart. Tragedies like this are often a common ground that bitter foes can stand on in peace. For now Alabama and Auburn can unite hand in hand to support each other during this tough time.