Monday, May 14, 2012

Growing up a different kind of Gamecock

As a Dad, I enjoy new stuff everyday from my 6-year old son.  Whether it is waiting for the next classic comment to come out of that innocent mouth or watching him play with that imagination you only have at his age, it is an awesome experience.  He is at that crucial juncture where he knows he is leaving “being little” behind and steamrolling into the “young boy” period.  (If you’re a parent you know what I mean.)

As he makes this transition he will also start focusing in on sports and what they mean.  (Yes, yes, Moms before you go nuts reminding me, I get it that sports might not be an interest of his but for this column just go with it.)  I am looking forward to hundreds of trips to games in Columbia with him just like I got when I was little.  

For me my introduction to USC sports involved the Jim Carlen, Frank McGuire and June Raines eras, three of our better coaches by any definition.  I still ended up being a “pessimistic” fan like most Gamecocks were from that time.  I talked in my column last week about how that era of negativity is now gone at Carolina, and my son is part of the generation that will really exhibit this change.  

He was born in March of 2006 at Beaufort Memorial.  Since that time, in just six years, he already has “under his belt” 2 national championships in baseball, the biggest bowl win in school history, an SEC East Football Title and an 11-win season.  Conceding that basketball has been a “skunk in the ice cream,” that’s a pretty good slate, especially if you throw in the fact that we have wins in all three major sports over #1 teams in his lifetime.   

Compare it to mine and his time gets even better.  I was 34 when he was born and at that point I had witnessed a grand total of 9 wins over Clemson in football.  He already has 4.  I had never seen us have a winning streak of 2 or more over the Tigers.  He already has a 3-peat.  I had seen 1 win over Florida (Beth reminds me that she was technically pregnant with him when that one happened in November 2005 but I will claim it).  J  He already has 2 Gator-Slayings including our first win at the Swamp.  I had seen three total bowl wins and he has 2.  Heck he has three wins each over Georgia and Tennessee as well.  I guess in hoops I can be cocky that we both have 1 NIT title each right?  Who am I kidding?  

I could go on but you get the idea.  I have to admit it…I am both jealous and excited for him at the same time.  His first real memories of USC sports will involve Ray Tanner, Steve Spurrier and Frank Martin!!  What a great time to be a Gamecock Daddy! 

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