Bones, chanting and chicken blood

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: There is no such thing as a Chicken Curse. A cranky state senator driving a pitchfork into the ground and declaring the University of South Carolina forever cursed is — as far as voodoo goes — pretty weak stuff.

C’mon, an elected official making a curse stick? Elected officials can’t pass laws that stand the test of time, let alone lay down curses that last for generations.

Real curses involve more than pitchforks and epithets; they’re made at night, around a burning fire. They involve dancing and blood and bones and bizarre chanting. Eyes roll back into heads and dark shadows flit across the moon and, somewhere in the distance, a wolf howls. Or something like that.

Something wicked this way comes

Seriously, folks, the Chicken Curse is not real. You wouldn’t know that, of course, by the coverage of South Carolina‘s latest, inexplicable loss on the football field.

The game wasn’t even over when sportscasters nationwide began to chant that the curse had, once again, reared it’s ugly head and doomed the ‘Cocks to yet another year of also-ran-dom.

It’s true: Since USC was established in 1801, we’ve been known for failure on the athletic field.

Yes, we won the College World Series for the first time earlier this year, something some observers believed signaled the end of the mysterious hex that’s choked our teams for generations. Apparently, though, whatever has a death grip on the football team continues its evil ways.

One week after delivering the biggest gridiron victory in school history — a win over then-No. 1 Alabama — we lost to a previously hapless Kentucky squad. The team that took the field versus Kentucky bore little resemblance to the one that lined up against Alabama (our players must have looked into a mirror and remembered they’re Gamecocks).

Regardless, we lost — again. And it’s worth noting that the Gamecocks’ only conference championship in football, way back in 1969 (when we were part of the ACC) was later forfeited because we fielded a team with ineligible players. Cue the scary organ music.

Doomed to perpetual misery?

Strategies for breaking the Curse have long been debated. There was even a movement a few years ago that called for changing the Carolina mascot from a gamecock to a jaguar, under some theory that the Curse features a proviso that any team calling itself “The Gamecocks” is doomed to perpetual misery.

So, what does this all mean?

Well, in some societies, simply believing in a curse makes it real . . . there are places where death hexes actually work because the hexees are convinced of their doom.

Is that’s what’s happening at Carolina? Have we, as fans, invoked the almighty Chicken Curse so often that we — and, even worse, our players — believe in its power?

If that’s the case, stick a (pitch)fork in us. We’re done.



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