The Daily Gamecock

Letter to the Editor: Students should appreciate talented USC football team

Far more disappointing than the sloppy play that nearly cost us Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt, was seeing our student section half-full at the start of the second half.

I won’t ask where you were. I won’t remind you that SEC divisional games are never over at the half. And I won’t harp on the fact that it certainly would have helped in the fourth quarter to have a packed, raucous student section making life difficult for Vandy. But what I want to know is: how could you not want to watch more of what you just saw?

We were throttling Vanderbilt. It was a clinic. Our defense was flying to the ball; they were playing with abandon. Our offense was on pace to gain 800 yards; Connor Shaw was throwing the ball all over the yard and Mike Davis was ridiculous. Clowney had his biggest play of the year and was about to face a quarterback who would soon have to start throwing on every down.

Were you not entertained? I’m sitting on a couch, 1,500 miles away, glued to my television, thinking that this is too good to be true. Thinking that there is no place I’d rather be in the world than in that stadium. Thinking how awful it is that we only get to watch this team play 13 times each season. Thinking that we get the ball back to start the second half.

You were thinking about the parking lot. Is what waits for you there really so intoxicating that staying in your seats and watching your school play the second half of a college football game seems like a waste of time?

It’s disappointing, pathetic and embarrassing.

Do you not realize how incredibly fortunate you are to have this team to root for every Saturday? There was a time, not all that long ago, when 11-win seasons, New Year’s Day bowl games, a permanent place in the national spotlight and top-10 rankings were unimaginable for us.
We have those things now. You take them for granted.

The teams I rooted for as a student had none of those things. My friends and I would have killed to have this team then. We would have done everything we could to help them win and to show them we care. That means being there early, staying late and screaming louder than hell when the game is on the line.

And trust me, those actions matter to our players. Don’t believe me? Google, “Eric Norwood ESPN interview,” and watch the video.

What many of you don’t know — given your tendency to leave at the half — is that at the end of each game, after the final whistle, our players join the student section, our marching band plays the alma mater, and together we raise our hands to toast the pride and the bond that we share as students of the University of South Carolina, as Gamecocks.

This bond is the one thing that still separates college sports from the professional ranks. And this moment is the best part of every home game — better than 2001, Sandstorm and “another Carolina first down.” I hope that next time, against Kentucky, you are there to see it for yourselves and that you start to show this team the support it deserves.

— Stephen Demedis, Class of 2007