I’m not a big football fan. In fact, I believe the only reason to watch the game is that it’s a good excuse for a party and the chance to make yummy appetizers. However, I am a little rabid when it comes to my USC Gamecocks. Yes, that’s right, USC. As in the University of South Carolina – the OTHER USC.
I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) to be in Columbia SC yesterday to watch the Gamecocks take on the Tennessee Volunteers at Williams-Brice Stadium. Our star running back, Marcus Lattimore, took a low tackle in the second quarter and sustained what was truly one of the most gruesome injuries anyone can have. Knees and ankles just simply weren’t meant to flop around at those angles. You can watch the replays on YouTube, but be warned, it’s nasty.
The stadium was silent; you could hear a gamecock feather drop. People were in tears, and reaching for their cell phones, whether to snap a picture or make a call, I don’t know. Trainers and coaches raced onto the field to assess the downed player. As they applied an air cast to stabilize his knee and take him off the field, the Tennessee bench emptied and every single player, trainer and coach stepped onto the Gamecock turf to cheer Lattimore as he was removed from the stadium. All the Gamecocks were on the field at the same time, all the players in solidarity supporting one of their own. Lattimore left to a standing ovation.
To the Tennessee players, support staff and to all the Tennessee fans in the stands who were as frightened as we were, thank you for your display of sportsmanship and dignity. We appreciate it.
That’s what “sport” is all about.