A lot of you aren’t going to like what I have to say in this post…but it needs to be said.
We don’t have a leg to stand on right now. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth.
Our Gamecocks finished 3-9 in 2015, our legendary coach walked out mid-season (which I’m okay with, but it happened) and we’re coming into the Will Muschamp era that is chock full of question marks.
Our run is over, our state dominance is over and our ability to rag on “that school from the Upstate” is unfortunately over…at least for now.
Clemson is coming off quite possibly their best season in school history and that includes their 1981 National Title run. The Tigers bounced back from their 5-straight losses to Carolina and have now won two straight Palmetto Bowls. Oh, and they played in the National Championship game against Alabama last season and did so quite respectably.
For five straight years, we owned bragging rights.
Day in and day out I saw Carolina fans on social media combating numerous Clemson fans need to fight our team’s recent success with history lessons. It was frustrating and, in this fan’s opinion, incredibly annoying.
My fellow Gamecocks fans would constantly ask for our respect while our team was by far the more dominant team at the time. Some Tigers fans bowed to the reality of the times, others decided to continue to battle and tell tales of 1981. I hated it…and I’m sure a lot of you Carolina fans did as well.
This is the reason I’m writing this blog today.
It’s now our chance to be what we asked for five years. It’s our opportunity to be the bigger man (or woman) and pay the respect that we wanted shown to us so badly during our team’s last amazing run.
We don’t have to like that Clemson is one of the best teams in the country right now, we don’t have to enjoy that Dabo Swinney is a national sweetheart and we don’t have to laud Deshaun Watson’s Heisman campaign…but we don’t really have a leg to stand on when it comes to bashing it.
There’s really no need to bash it to be perfectly honest with you.
Bashing their great run right now is doing exactly what we hated the most during our run of state dominance. Nothing would fire me up and send me on a Twitter rampage like a Clemson fan brushing off another lopsided result by flaunting their one National Title or lopsided record against USC .
At the time neither of those things were news to us, but they knew full well that the better team resided in Columbia and they only had history to fall back on.
Well, we don’t have history to fall back on outside of recent history. We don’t have a trophy to flaunt outside of George Rogers’ Heisman. We again don’t have a leg to stand on…not right now at least.
What we do have is what made me a Gamecocks fan in the first place…pride and loyalty.
I moved here in 2000. South Carolina was coming off a not-so-stellar season as I’m sure you all remember. I went to Williams-Brice Stadium and saw a packed house. I saw excitement and pride. I saw Gamecock Nation at it’s best.
That loyalty, that pride, that excitement…THAT is what made me want to be a Gamecock.
I grew up in one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports being from Connecticut. Half of my family are die-hard Red Sox fans (myself included) and the other half die-hard Yankees fans.
So trust me, I get rivalry and the sports hatred that goes along with it…but I also understand reality and when you do or do not have a leg to stand on.
I also fully understand supporting my team regardless of how bad things are going and that was what made me one of you when my life’s journey dropped me here in Greenville back in High School.
So just take a deep breath, take a step back, give the respect that is due and wait for our time to come again…no matter how long it takes and no matter how Clemson fans react to it when it comes.
Be the better fan. I know we can do it.
Forever to thee.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).