MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Despite the City of Mobile denying McGill-Toolen and Murphy High School a permit to paint the Midtown cannon, prideful fans of McGill-Toolen still covered it in orange. Some say it’s all part of a tradition that shouldn’t be touched.
A nearly 50-year-old tradition is rooted in the rivalries of two high school football teams in Mobile. When McGill-Toolen and Murphy High School play, the winner will paint the Midtown cannon in their respective colors. McGill’s is orange, and Murphy’s is blue.
In February of this year, the City of Mobile did not grant a permit for either school to paint the cannon, leading McGill-Toolen to get a small cannon for their students to throw orange paint on Friday night.
Even though McGill got their own cannon, overjoyed students still doused orange paint in the Midtown cannon.
“I think it’s just that ingrained in us that when we grow up and we see the games going up, we expect to paint the cannon,” fellow McGill-Toolen senior John McDonald said. “So I think that’s why I can still end up getting painted just because it’s been it’s that part that big, a part of the history of Mobile, McGill-Toolen and Murphy.”
“There’s a history definitely behind painting the cannon and people kind of expect the cannon to be painted,” The President of SGA of McGill-Toolen James Mayhall said. “And there’s a history and tradition behind that, and I think a lot of people see that and respect that.”
Former students like Bobby Allenbach attended both Murphy and McGill-Toolen High Schools.
He said it’s important to still keep traditions like these alive as Mobile is a city filled with many traditions.
“The permit thing is, just like I said, it steps into our heritage,” Allenbach said. “You got to let it go. You got to let it go and let us enjoy our heritage. From McGill to Murphy.”
A city spokesperson said they are working to repaint the cannon.