Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Burden of South Carolina Football History

It is not well-known, but famous Southern historian C. Vann Woodward also composed his thoughts on several football teams. In a recently discovered manuscript, his thoughts on many different teams in the South have been found. Below is one man's take on Gamecock history.

The Burden of South Carolina Football History

South Carolina fans have had their full share of illusions, fantasies, and pretensions, and they have continued to cling to some of them with an astonishing tenacity that defies explanation. But the illusion that ‘history is something unpleasant that happens to other people’ is certainly not one of them—not in the face of accumulated evidence and memory to the contrary. It is true that there have been many Gamecock converts to the gospel of progress and success, and there was even a period following the ‘Black Magic’ of 1984 when it seemed possible that these converts might carry a reluctant fanbase with them. But the conversion was never anywhere near complete. Full participation in the legend of irresistible progress, success, and victory could, after all, only be vicarious at best. For the inescapable facts of history were that the Gamecocks had repeatedly met with frustration and failure. These fans had learned what it was to be faced with problems that refused to yield to all the ingenuity, patience, intelligence and hirings that a university could bring to bear upon them. They had learned to accommodate themselves to conditions that they swore they would never accept, and they had learned the taste left in their mouths by the swallowing of their own words…and they had learned the un-American lesson of submission. For South Carolina fans have undergone an experience that it could not share with many in the nation—the experience of defeat, mind numbing mediocrity, and constant ‘reconstruction.’”

Gamecock fever: Catch it!...just like diphtheria.

Inspired by The Burden of Southern History, pgs 167-91.

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