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Gamecock Fans Have the Control

Matt Barber(@dixiefriedsport)

Today on the Flagship Station of the University of South Carolina head baseball coach Chad Holbrook issued an apology to fans.  Holbrook stated that last week's comments where he stated "Sometimes we've got less people on the road yelling at our players than we do at home" were directed at 1-2 fans and not the fan base as a whole.  Was Chad really apologizing or was this just a rehearsed line that the athletic staff put together in an effort to control the damage those comments had?

I'm not sure we will ever know the true answer, but regardless Holbrook was able to help us all realize the most important fact of Gamecock Athletics.  That fact is that Gamecock Fans have all the control.

When the University of South Carolina put up that gigantic banner of Steve Spurrier on Williams Brice Stadium I was a bit disturbed.   Sure, Steve Spurrier is the winningest coach in Gamecock History, but to me that banner represented more than that.   That banner in its own sad way seemed to show outsiders that Steve Spurrier was bigger than the program itself.  As we saw in the end that didn't hold to be true. 

I always believed that the banner at Williams Brice should be either one of two things.  The first would be a large Gamecock.  The Gamecock is what represents the fight and will of South Carolinians.  It is one animal that is brave and due to its will to win it is so stubborn it will fight to the death before it admits defeat.  The Gamecock represents one of our state's greatest heroes, Thomas Sumter.   Its that kind of fighting spirit that describes many of us South Carolinians.  Gamecock fans haven't always had things go their way, but fans will fight with their team until the bitter end. 

Another thought I had for that banner was just a huge banner of the fans themselves.  The fans make this program.  Because of the amazing Gamecock fans we are the only school to rank in the top 20 nationally in baseball, women's basketball, men's basketball, and football attendance.  Gamecock fans were there following the Navy loss, 0-21, Coppin State, and Morrison's death.  Unlike Spurrier, the fans never have and never will quit the program. 

It is the Gamecock fans' program and I think Chad Holbrook now realizes that.  No matter the excuses he gives or the apologies he delivers at the end of the day it will be the fans that decide his time at USC. 

The media doesn't control you Gamecock fans either.  When you hear a radio host on 107.5 or any other clown behind a microphone tell you that your expectations are unrealistic then you should feel insulted.  Without your passion and loyalty those radio hosts and newspaper writers don't have a job.  If you didn't care then who would be there to call a talk show?  If you didn't care then who would be there to read a newspaper or internet website?  The media should spend each day kissing your butt that they have a group of fans this passionate about their sports. Without you, they have no jobs

Being a Gamecock isn't being an athletic director who wears a cute suit, it isn't being a coach who wins a lot of ball games.  Those folks may make the big salaries, but it is the Gamecock Fan who pays those salaries.  It is the Gamecock Athlete that works hard for those men & women who make those big salaries.  The Gamecock student is the reason those men have universities to work at.

Being a Gamecock is an athlete that works his or her butt off in practice and works even harder in the classroom.  A Gamecock is that legacy who had parents, grandparents, and great grandparents get a degree and now they are too. It's that person who overcame poverty, worked hard, and earned that degree. Gamecocks are military men and women who fought hard for our country so we can yell Go Cocks in all corners of the world.  That person who may never have had the chance to attend USC, but never misses a game on the radio or TV is also what a Gamecock is.  Those kids who sleep at night with a stuffed cocky in their arms and dream of being the next Kip Bouknight, George Rogers, or Alex English is what a Gamecock is.

That little rooster that has his feathers ruffled and sits inside of a block C means something to all of us.  We've seen him fight to the end to defeat #1 Alabama.  We saw him bring Black Death to Rodney Williams.  He took off a Michigan players helmet.  That ass kickin' chicken closed out Rosenblatt Stadium and opened TD Ameritrade Park.  It crows 30 minutes to kickoff and after each big touchdown.  That rooster represents us, all of us good Sandlappers.

The truth is us Gamecocks will be around well after Chad Holbrook, Ray Tanner, Frank Martin, Dawn Staley, or Mark Berson are gone.  Coaches will come and go, but Gamecock fans will always stay.  Chad Holbrook now knows that and y'all have the voice that will determine his future.

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