Heads up: This is football, not a Junior League social

When I was in college, I worked at The Gamecock, the University of South Carolina‘s student newspaper. Back then, budding journalists – inspired by the success of two scrappy Washington Post reporters whose work toppled the Nixon presidency – were sure our work would change the world.

Today, newspapers are more often run by accountants than by journalists, the news industry is struggling and young reporters are somehow more corporate than their 70s and 80s counterparts. The twice-weekly Gamecock has become the Daily Gamecock. And what the toothless Daily Gamecock published in the wake of the Auburn game had my blood boiling, both as a journalist and as a football fan.

It was a simple article, seemingly innocuous, about how gosh-darn nice Tiger fans were when our team played – and lost – an away game at their university last weekend.

“If we have to lose,” the article stated of Auburn fans’ hospitality, “we’ll lose there every time.”

Give me nasty, not nice

Excuse me? What the heck was that? First of all, Auburn’s hospitality might have been in shorter supply if the Gamecocks had won the game. It’s easy to be nice when you’re basking in victory’s golden glow.

Listen up, you cub reporters at The Daily Gamecock: Nice? Don’t tell me about nice. What do you think we were doing in Auburn? Attending a Junior League social? A barbecue at Twelve Oaks? This is football, people. Football!

Football has nothing to do with nice. Football is about fierceness on the field, grinding out every yard and getting into the end zone. It’s about winning and losing. It’s that simple, and that complex.

The bottom line is that I don’t want to hear about southern hospitality. And I don’t want to feel better about losing to Auburn because the people there are so sweet and kind.

Next year, our team should leave Auburn with Tiger fans cursing and shaking their fists in anger because we kicked their orange-and-blue butts.

So, Daily Gamecock, forget the nice. And toughen up, young journalists. Focus on becoming reporters who will change the world.



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