If you’ve watched the news recently, you know that South Carolina has experienced some severe flooding. You also know that as a nation we experience natural disasters often, but despite the countless amount of damage those disasters do, they bring us together more than ever before.
LSU vs. South Carolina is one of my favorite games to watch, because it was my first game at LSU stadium and introduced me to a whole new group of people. As many of you know, I briefly lived in South Carolina and therefore have a handful of friends who love the Gamecocks, which makes this match-up even more fun.
Because of the recent, horrendous flooding, South Carolina found itself in a sticky situation prior to the LSU game last Saturday (October 10th). The Gamecocks were set to host the game in Columbia but could not due to damages caused by the flooding. However, LSU was quick to jump in and offer up their stadium for the game. And yes, it probably had something to do with the Tigers’ love for home field advantage but for this game, LSU was the visiting team at Tiger Stadium. Crazy, I know! But what a generous display of southern hospitality!
LSU set up huge banners for the Gamecocks, billboards all around Baton Rouge and even wore their away game jerseys…all in an effort to make South Carolina feel more at home. After weeks of kindness and generosity on LSU’s part, South Carolina had nothing but respectful words to say about the team. Even after a tough loss in Death Valley, USC felt that LSU was “the place that faith went to be restored”.
The best part of this entire weekend was not the 45-24 win for LSU, or the jump up to #6 on the AP poll, but the hospitality and respect the Tigers went out of their way to show USC. Leonard Fournette, who is incredibly talented and equally humble and generous, said after the game that he wanted to put his game worn jersey on auction and donate all the proceeds to South Carolina disaster relief. At first the NCAA was against the idea, as many players *cough* Johnny Manziel *cough* have gotten into trouble for “profiting” from the sale of their gear/brand, but after Fournette insisted and put the pressure on them, the NCAA tweeted their agreement to allow LSU and Leonard Fournette to auction the jersey-officially being auctioned as “LSU #7 jersey” not “Leonard Fournette’s jersey”.
In the world of college football, or sports in general, its actions like those of Fournette that make athletes good role models. Not only can he run a ball 87 yards for a touch down without trouble but he can also show sincere generosity off the field. Not many teams or players would offer up so many helping hands against a rival, especially when they were on the path to the championship, but LSU did just that and USC has expressed it’s gratitude and respect for such a remarkable act.
Doesn’t that southern hospitality just pull at your heart strings? I know I’m feeling warm and fuzzy. I’ve never been more proud to be an LSU fan than I am now, knowing the team of young men who are hungry for success are willing to give someone else a shot at victory because they are suffering from a great disaster. It’s just good to see that there is still hope for humanity and for athletes who are often recognized as “jerks” who only care about their own success.
In other news, Steve Spurrier has officially retired, effective immediately, from South Carolina, leaving the Gamecocks in limbo going into the remainder of their season. Meanwhile, LSU is preparing to face off against the Florida Gators in Death Valley, before another home game against Western Kentucky.