Gridiron & Grits

Adrenaline, Anxiety and the Bank of Steve Spurrier

Old Time GamecocksGamecocks fans, are you feeling the adrenaline? I know I am, because for the first time in a long while I’m living in the shadow of Williams-Brice Stadium. Literally.

I left South Carolina for the scarred beauty of the Texas Hill Country and a newspaper job right after taking my last USC final (accounting, brutal). For years, I imagined myself a lone beacon of SEC goodness in the midst of University of Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor fans. Spotting a car with a Gamecocks sticker or someone wearing USC tee-shirt was an honest-to-god thrill.

Now, back in the city I love most – perhaps because it’s where I left childhood behind and became an independent-thinking adult – I’m slowly getting used to seeing Gamecocks brethren at every turn. My car sports a USC license plate (something that irritatingly wasn’t available in Texas until after I fled the state).

What’s even more amazing, though, is the media coverage of everything Gamecock. In Texas, news about Carolina was limited to a two-inch game synopsis in the Sunday paper or the occasional Steve Spurrier wisecrack – although that’s changing now that A&M has joined the SEC fold. Anyway, local USC coverage sure makes a difference. Adrenaline is pumping, Aug. 29 is almost here and I’m more excited about kickoff than ever.

Of course, as my friends know, my excitement is always tempered by anxiety. I’m a fretter. When the Gamecocks play, I wait for the other shoe to drop. You probably do too, given USC’s propensity for fatal mistakes and missed opportunities. Last year’s Florida game, anyone?

Would you rather?

But back to that adrenaline I mentioned earlier. A few years ago, I asked Gridiron & Grits readers: Would you rather see the team start strong, building your hopes for an SEC championship, only to have those hopes dashed by a late-season snafu? Or would you rather lose a couple of games and your SEC hopes early on, eliminating game-day tension and turning the focus to tailgating excellence?

This is a quandary I wrestled with, particularly when the Gamecocks were in the habit of running the table for the first five games or so, only to end the season with a spectacular skid. Back then, my prayer to the football gods was, “Let them implode early if this isn’t the year. The mid-season meltdowns are breaking my heart.” Now, though? Not so much. Perhaps I’m spoiled by the strong performances of the past few years – and particularly consecutive 11-win seasons – but bring on the tension. I can take it. I want to believe. I want the excitement that comes with moving up the polls week by week and the buzz about BCS possibilities. I want to see ESPN’s Lee Corso humiliated for saying the Gamecocks will never, ever win an SEC championship. Are you with me?

Spurrier, can you spare a dime?

Speaking of Lee Corso, Gridiron & Grits readers may be few, but they’re loyal. And they have good memories. That’s why I’ve already received several inquiries about the status of THE GREAT BET. Dear G&G readers, this is indeed the final year of the wager. Based on Corso’s fighting words (and an impulsive and fiery disposition), I bet my University of Texas-spawned spouse – who agreed with Corso – that my beloved Gamecocks would win the SEC championship within five seasons. That was four seasons ago.

Folks, I have faith. This is the year. We have the coach, we have two outstanding quarterbacks and we have a weapon of mass destruction in Jadeveon Clowney. I’m confident that in December, my husband will present me with one of those Publisher’s Clearing House life-size checks in the amount of $5,000. But just in case, can someone put me in touch with Steve Spurrier? If I’m wrong, the least he can do is reward my confidence with a low-interest loan.


2 Responses to “Gridiron & Grits”

  1. 1 Ace
    August 4, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    You may need a second job. I hear tips are pretty good at the Augusta golf course bar. You would no doubt run into Spurrier there, too.


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