I grew up in South Carolina as many of you know. The main two sports teams were Clemson and the University of South Carolina. From childhood, you were almost forced to root for one and hate the other. Later on I went my own path and chose to root for Notre Dame but that’s another story for another day.
Both programs have had success in their athletic programs over the years, specifically South Carolina baseball. However neither football team hasn’t been able to win the big one. Clemson came ever so close last season.
And then finally the football gods smiled on Clemson, its fans, players and the state of South Carolina with Clemson breaking a 35 year drought and winning the national championship over previously unbeaten Alabama 35-31 in a thriller.
Now once again, I’m not a Clemson fan but I love seeing all of the South Carolina teams do well. Our state has had lots of embarrassments with Susan Smith, the Confederate Flag, the Dylann Roof trial and so forth. It has long been a beautiful and prideful state but yeah cursed in many ways.
Clemson’s win was one for the entire state, and one that can help bring us all together, even Gamecock fans. The celebration parade was long and crowded, 70,000 in attendance to celebrate the champs.
Sports have that special way of breaking down social, racial and political barriers. When you’re a fan, all that matters is the team wins. And when one Carolina team wins, the entire state wins in positive media reports, more money coming to the state, and simple bragging rights. It is suddenly cool again to be from South Carolina.
These things are great conversation pieces, as well as awesome for bonding. It’s simply a beautiful thing to share a shining moment with so many people, friends, strangers and future connections. Sports can be truly magic. Look at what the Olympics does in our country every few years. Clemson being national champs is South Carolina’s version of that. More championships from our school will help in all sorts of ways.
Therefore,at least show respect for these local teams. They work hard and they want to win just as badly as the other big programs. They need support and love also.
Let this love continue to flow.