Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Open letter to family, friends, and Gamecock fans

Dear SC Gamecock fans, family and friends:

Congratulations to the baseball team for making it to the College World Series again this year. I’m sorry that you lost to Arizona, but it was a well fought battle! I’m so proud of you, to be a Gamecock fan, and your ability to showcase the pride, humility and sportsmanship a team should have in college sports.

Starting July 1, I’m going to change sides. I’m so sorry, but I have to cheer against you for at least one game or several games a year. As a sports fan, it’s going to be the hardest day and years of my life. I’ve been raised as a Gamecock fan my whole life. My father has two master’s degrees from SC, my oldest brother is an undergraduate of SC and graduate from MUSC, and my middle brother received his medical degree from SC. I got my master’s degree from SC. However, as any true sports fan knows, you have to pull for your undergrad.

My undergraduate degree is from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Yes, the other Tigers! I thought by heading to the Big 12, I would be spared the hardship of pulling against SC! For the four years at Mizzou, we played against other SEC teams and I cheered for MIZ-ZOU! I went to Clemson and pulled for the Mizzou Tigers. That was a horrible game because we lost 62-9 in 2000. The sportscasters called us the high school football team from Missouri. It was bad. But, I stayed and cheered for my Tigers.

The first time I had to choose between SC and Missouri was the 2005 Independence Bowl. When the bowl selection committee announced that they were playing each other, I received five emails from my Missouri friends in the first 24 hours. They all asked me “Who are you pulling for?” At first, I was going to pull for SC, but I had to pull for my undergrad. I had nine people at my house pulling for SC, and I was the lone Missouri fan. Missouri came back to beat SC, and I was excited for my Tigers, but I was hurting that SC lost.

A couple of years ago, the rumors started that Missouri would be going to be Big 10, which I was really happy with! We would leave Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and the rest of the Big 12 behind. I would have had another reason to pull against Michigan and Ohio State. However, those plans fell through. So, I believed that the drama was over. Missouri would stay in the Big 12 and work at beating the teams in the Big 12. We could beat Oklahoma for our first Big 12 championship in football.

Then, my world started to crumble. Talk started that Missouri would move to the SEC. I really, really didn’t want them to come to the SEC because of my allegiance to you, SC Gamecocks. I didn’t want to have to pull against you.  All of my friends in the DC-area were happy and thrilled, but I couldn’t share in their excitement. They all looked at me and asked, “Who are you going to pull for?” I said Missouri with a long face.

I prayed that Missouri would be placed in the West, so SC would only have to play them every three years. That would really help with my childhood team. I wanted Texas A&M in the East. Missouri could play Alabama, Auburn and the rest of the West teams, and I would be okay with that. I was praying for that to happen. However, that day didn’t come. They were placed in the East. They would have to play SC every year. I’ve been dreading July 1 for awhile.

However, I started to change my way of thinking. With Missouri in the East, I will only have another reason to cheer against Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. When Missouri plays Clemson, then I can pull for Mizzou!
I’m trying to look at the bright side. In September, I’ll be in Columbia pulling for Mizzou! But, I want you to know that I’ll be pulling for you, too! (Inside of course) I’m working on an outfit that shows how much I love both teams. It’s going to be fun, bold, and shows my sports fanaticism.

When I was a child, I always loved watching the Gamecocks play! In 1984, my cousin, her friends, and her future husband, all came to SC for the UGA game. They had an extra ticket. They picked my brother, who wasn’t a huge fan to go. I was so disappointed. Perhaps, it was because I was five and he was ten. The only thing that made it better was that SC won and my brother smiled all the way home. My Georgia cousins came home unhappy!

Back in the mid-80’s, I used to go to all the games with my oldest brother as his “date,” and I watched Sterling Sharpe and Todd Ellis play. What a great team! I loved Sterling and I followed him to the Green Bay Packers. I watched him play every game, including the hit that ended his career. When I meet people from Wisconsin, they always ask me why I’m a Packers fan. It’s because of SC and Sterling. I’m now a proud owner (one share).

As Missouri enters the SEC, please know that I will always be a SC Gamecock fan! I just won’t be a fan when you play them. Thank you for all the great years so far and the ones to come! I’m going to be a proud and happy Missouri and SC fan in the next few days! Both of my schools will be in the best conference in the world! Couldn’t ask for anything more! Go Gamecocks and Go Tigers!  


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