Apologies for our long hiatus. Allow us to make amends by posting this humorous video of an angry fan during the UGA-USC game. NSFW, but ridiculously funny.
The Thoughtful Gamecock’s modest proposal (found here) has managed to find some traction thanks to the good folks over at Gamecockcentral and Cockytalk. I urgently request that you read our original article, then head over to those sites to join the conversation.
If you are a member of any of the other Gamecock message boards out there, I humbly request you start a thread outlining our proposal and get others involved.
If you listen to any of the local call-in radio shows, I urge you to call in and make them aware of what we have brewing here.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I ask you to sign the petition!
Thank you all for the overwhelming support you have given to our modest proposal, we will have some more comprehensive news regarding this idea later today.
Thank you again, so much!
UPDATE: Garnet and Black Attack has come out in support of our proposal!
UPDATE #2: TheBig Spur has a thread linking us in!
Those of us who have grown up in the state of South Carolina know the rivalry between the University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers for what it is: one of the most bitter, emotionally supercharged and longest-running rivalries in all of college sports. Those who have not been born into this war, even fans familiar with the college football landscape, are awestruck with the level of passion and intensity it inspires, often comparing it to the great rivalries from across the nation; Miami/Florida State, Texas/Oklahoma and the gold standard of college sports hatred, Alabama/Auburn. Yet, our annual in-state contest remains something of a secret to most of the nation, despite being the third-longest running rivalry in college football. Our big game doesn’t even have a proper name, allowing it to be eclipsed by contests with catchy handles like the Iron Bowl, The Red River Rivalry, and the Backyard Brawl. The Trophy for which we compete is shameful: The Hardees Trophy, an appallingly commercial award that is steeped in no tradition and says nothing about the State of South Carolina or the passion with which we approach our teams. The last tradition of the rivalry that was unique and appealing ended half a century ago. I’m speaking of Big Thursday, an event that combined the biggest game of the year with the state fair, and was uniquely South Carolinian. One can only imagine a timeline in which Big Thurday was allowed to survive and thrive, perhaps to represent our state AT LEAST as well as the Egg Bowl does Mississippi, but alas, it was not meant to be.
Looking around the country, several rivalries have captured the imagination of the nation, even when played between teams that don’t have the talent or success of our in-state schools. Teams play for delightfully funky trophies like giant axes, oaken buckets, bejeweled Shillelaghs, a platypus, wagon wheels and golden hats. Engaging monikers capture the imagination: The Apple Cup, The Backyard Brawl, The Civil War, The Iron Bowl, The Duel in the Desert, Farmageddon. A full list of rivalry games and trophies can be found here, and a quick look at the fun of these rivalry names and trophies makes clear what is wonderful about college football, and why USC/Clemson is overlooked by the nation at large. Our big game is listed as “The Battle of the Palmetto State”, a title I’ve heard used to describe the game, but never used as the name of the game itself. This name is wanting. Could you not call ANY in-state rivalry “The Battle of the [insert state nickname here] state”? Where’s the originality? Where’s the fun? Even calling the game “The Palmetto Bowl” would be preferable.
The most profound shame lies with the Hardee’s Trophy. I could almost live with such a blatantly commercial corporate monstrosity if THE CORPORATION WAS ACTUALLY BASED IN THE STATE. A trophy provided by an in-state corporate donor would at least say something about what our state has to offer, but Hardees’ corporate offices are in St. Louis, and can be nothing more than a shabby exploitation of our biggest game perpetrated by out-of-state interests that cannot understand or respect the rivalry. The very existance of the Hardee’s Trophy cheapens the rivalry. It should be discontinued immediately. Winning the Hardees Trophy is like setting an Olympic record and recieving McDonalds gift certificates instead of a gold medal. It’s like knocking out Mike Tyson and getting a Bud light coozie. It’s disgraceful.
I offer a solution. It is a solution in which I ask your help. Starting a new tradition is a tricky business. Most college traditions grow out of random circumstance and eventually reach holy status after time. To conciously create a tradition requires the willingness and support of the fan bases on a grass roots level, coupled with a good idea, of course. I believe I have such an idea.
The South Carolina State flag is striking in its simplicity, and instantly recognizable to anyone remotely familiar with it. The lone palmetto tree and crescent moon are the most evocative symbols of our state, and should figure into the symbology of the tradition we are designing. So, should we make a palmetto tree trophy and let the winner of the USC/Clemson game hold it until the next game?
No, I say. I’m thinking bigger.
I propose the commission of two bronze palmetto tree statues, one to be located at Williams-Brice Stadum, and the other at Death Valley. Each tree should be around ten feet tall, and identically cast. Each tree should have a spot on top where a scale crescent moon, also bronze, could be affixed; and every year, Carolina and Clemson should play for that moon.
Imagine: Our big game would have a truly unique trophy to compete for, a trophy that could be displayed to the public year round, and even in losing years the lone palmetto still serves as a symbol of the state. Imagine ceremonies for the removal and presentation of a giant bronze moon to a winning team. Imagine ceremonies for the affixation of the moon to a previously bare tree. This could be really fun stuff.
To the best of my knowledge, nobody else in the country would have an arrangement like this. Suddenly our rivalry would have an identity, and in short order, pundits would begin playing on the crescent moon when describing the rivalry. “The Battle for the Carolina Moon” has a ring to it, don’t you think? How about “The Moon Bowl”? There are many possibilities here. Losing coaches would “promise the moon” for next year, “the moon rises” on the victor. I believe that this proposal would add a much needed bit of originality and fun to our rivalry.
So here is what I ask of you. Tell everybody. Spread this idea around your workplaces, your message boards, your local radio call-in shows. Run it by your family, your friends. Let’s see if we can retire that Hardee’s embarrassment, and replace it with something more befitting our favorite rivalry. Can we get the Universities to agree? Can we raise the funds? I don’t know, but I’d really like to try.
Thoughtful Gamecock is now dedicated to the replacement of the Hardee’s Trophy with the Carolina Moon, and will accept any support you may have to offer. We have begun writing letters to the various persons of importance at both universities (Board of Trustees, Presidents, Athletic Directors, booster clubs) and lack only a buzz among fans of both teams.
For this buzz, I come to you. Share this post with everyone who may care, talk about this proposal wherever you can. Offer us feedback on the idea, help us get this proposal into the public sports dialogue.
For your support in this matter, I thank you.
UPDATE: Sign the petition!
During the Baseball game Sunday night, ESPN aired a fantastic commercial featuring Marcus Lattimore. As it happens, the campaign features several Gamecocks and is really worth a look. These bits are well produced and intensely personal looks at players working out. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen USC players presented in this way before. Tell me what you think…
Victor Hampton has been dismissed for the USC Football team. While this comes as something of a blow to our defensive depth, nobody familiar with Hampton is shocked that the dismissal came as a result of his well-documented lack of work ethic. Some may characterize this turn of events as a poor reflection on the Gamecocks, but it is in fact a vindication of the football program’s ability to function with integrity.
Hampton was a risk as a recruit, haunted by a bad reputation that caused other big-time programs to back off of the four-star cornerback. That bad reputation had nothing to do with his football talent, but instead with his attitude, a sense of entitlement and a refusal to do the work expected of an SEC player. USC took that risk, and while Hampton was able to produce on the field, he never really grew out of his bad habits.
Since it has become impossible to mention a troubled Gamecock player without invoking the name of Steven Garcia, I find it necesssary to mention that even as knuckleheaded a character as Garcia has found it in himself to finally take on the leadership role expected of him this summer, organizing and leading summer offensive workouts. Garcia’s huge contributions on the field have made it easier for the coaching staff to work around his idiosyncracies, to be sure. Hampton never had the impact on the field that Garcia did, and never seemed all that interested in doing the work needed to elevate his play, prompting the Staff to present him with a contract in which Hampton would guarantee improved work habits. Hampton signed, then didn’t deliver.
Hampton’s former teammates responded to his dismissal with a collective shrug of the shoulders. They saw it coming. Contrast this reaction to the uproar among the same players over Garcia’s most recent suspension and it’s easy to see who they believe in and whom they didn’t.
So it’s down to this: The staff gave a chance to a troubled player and it didn’t work out. The staff made a second attempt to re-engage the player, and that didn’t work out either. The staff dismissed the player, and the rest of the team understood.
This chain of events demonstrates a well functioning football program.
How clutch is Scott Wingo? How many walk-off wins do the Gamecocks have this year because of this kid? Scott Wingo is a one-man antidote to the fabled chicken curse; a player who actually gets better as the pressure mounts, and who can be counted on to produce in the clutch. I’m not sue there’s ever been another Gamecock like him, in baseball or any other sport. When Wingo delivered the walk-off single that won South Carolina’s opening game against Texas A&M in Sunday night’s College World Series matchup, he elevated USC to a rare game one win, knocking a small but pernicious monkey off Ray Tanner’s back, as well as cementing his own reputation as the man who gets the job done. Well done, Scott Wingo, well done.
Wingo’s heroics shouldn’t overshadow a spectacular pitching performance by Roth, who, after the wildest first inning of this years’ CWS, settled into a nice groove, holding the Aggies scoreless for the rest of the game (with some relief help) and lowered his ERA to a ridiculous .097. Roth continues to churn out iron man effort, matching his highest pitch total of the year against the Aggies. Who wants to bet we’ll see Roth again before the CWS is over? Who wants to bet every other team in the CWS fears that scenario?
Did I mention that we had a guy named Jackie Bradley Junior re-enter the lineup? Did I mention that after months away from the batter’s box he nailed the ball a coupla times last night? Did I mention that he was last year’s CWS MVP? It was fascinating to watch JBJr at the plate. Throughout the course of the game he regained his batter’s eye, culminating in a ninth-inning hit that help set up Wingo’s heroics. Mark the words of the Thoughtful Gamecock, JBJr’s return to the Gamecock lineup is the biggest turn of events in the CWS so far, and it makes USC a team that can win it all.
The Gamecocks next play Tuesday night against a terrifying Virginia squad. I have a feeling that our entire College World Series experience hinges on that game. With players like Roth, Bradley and Wingo in the USC lineup, you have got to like our chances.
Thoughtful Gamecock will be live tweeting the game today, courtesy of baseball beatwriter and guru lauralovesbaseball! Follow us on twitter to get the updates!