College Football

Never Lost in South Carolina

Shem Creek

I did not experience a college football rivalry until I moved to South Carolina fifteen years ago. On my first day at the College of Charleston I was confused by all the people talking about “Carolina” football. I knew these people couldn’t be Carolina Tar Heel fans because we never mention football. I learned quickly that some words mean different things in this state than they do everywhere else in the world. In South Carolina, “Carolina” refers to the South Carolina Gamecocks; the rest of the world uses that term to refer to the place where Michael Jordan played basketball. The world loses most arguments in this state.    

The only other football team in South Carolina that anyone cares about is the Clemson (clem(p)son) Tigers. I am sure you have heard of them. It doesn’t matter who you root for outside the borders of South Carolina, inside them you must pick one of the two teams. I have decided to approach the rivalry as a chameleon. I root for the better team unless I am surrounded by an inordinate amount of the worse team’s fans and then I will pretend to share their misery. Being a Clemson fan these last five years has been a lot of fun. They have beaten the Gamecocks five times in a row and won two national championships. Before that, I was a big fan of the Ol’ Ball Coach. He lead the Gamecocks to five-straight victories over Clemson before he retired. I haven’t pulled for a loser in the Palmetto Bowl in ten years.  

My South Carolina friends are split down the middle; half of them are Gamecocks fans and half of them are Clemson Tiger fans. Whether I get invited to a Clemson viewing party or a Gamecocks viewing party, I dutifully show up with my orange or garnet pompoms. It has been fun watching my Clemson friends revel in their success these last few years. It hasn’t been as fun watching my Gamecocks buddies wallow in such misery, but at least they have a good women’s basketball team. 

One of the greatest qualities of Gamecocks fans is their optimism. Every “national signing day” they joyously expound upon their new recruits like they just won it all. I consider this day to be their national championship because they are undefeated and the new recruits have yet to disappoint them. Clemson’s national championship is usually the national championship. 

I have enjoyed Clemson’s domination of college football these last few years, but it is becoming tedious. I’m a Tar Heel at heart and since we don’t mention football, I only watch the games to be entertained. There is nothing entertaining about a 55-10 trouncing, even if the victim is N.C. State. Clemson made its bones ending Alabama’s preeminence only to become that which it killed. Nobody except for those draped in orange wants to watch a football game where graduate student-transfers are substituted for starting players in the third quarter because the game is already won. The price you pay for being better than everyone else is that your games become boring and unwatchable.   

I would like to encourage all the Cocks I know to keep their heads up. What, what? Another word that means something different in South Carolina than it does everywhere else in the world. Anyway, things will not stay terrible forever. Life has an ebb and flow like the tide and the Tide may be your only hope. Dabo will go to Alabama after Trevor Lawrence leaves and things will be peachy in Columbia once again. You will be Sandstorming your way back to prominence before you know it. In the mean time you’ll just have to be content with beating Georgia every year. 

On November 30, 2019, the Clemson Tigers will play the South Carolina Gamecocks for the 117th time. Clemson’s season will be on the line and the Gamecocks will have nothing to lose because their season ended weeks ago. Both teams are lucky that the Tar Heels don’t mention football because they have already beaten South Carolina and they almost beat Clemson. Regardless, I believe that the Palmetto Bowl will be a great game; one in which the Gamecocks have a real chance of winning. No matter the outcome, I am going to enjoy watching the game because it is guaranteed that I will like the winner.

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My Turn


It was my turn to be the subject of ridicule last week. We all take turns. There is not a set schedule because my circle of friends are opportunists. For instance, if you try to get away with wearing a stupid-looking hat out one night, well then it is your turn. That is how it works. 

A group of us were playing golf at Wild Dunes in Charleston, South Carolina on Memorial Day weekend. We were at the turn house and I asked the lady what sandwiches they had. She said they had chicken salad, but when asked told me there were grapes in it, which I hate. Then she said they had tuna salad. It was very hot and I was very hungry so I really would have eaten anything. I had to ask, however, if there were red onions in the tuna because there usually are. I cannot eat red onions because I am allergic to them. I can eat them cooked or pickled, but not raw. The snack lady said she thought there were “regular” onions in the tuna. I am not sure what constitutes a “regular” onion, but I could no longer delve into the ingredients of the various salads at the Wild Dunes turn house and ordered the tuna. Continue reading “My Turn”


Green Purple-People Eater

Nothing to do with the post. Just a nice picture of James Island, South Carolina

If you are reading this, then you are probably like me. They would never guide you to this post. You have to find blogs like this on your own. They do their best to keep a lid on posts like this written by authors like me because I have dedicated my whole life to being green. 

I have been green for as long as I can remember. You cannot be born green; you have to learn how to be green. I had opinions about green even before I knew what I was talking about. Even though I probably sounded like a parrot, I’m glad I was taught those basic green principles at an early age. Continue reading “Green Purple-People Eater”

Self Help

Panic #60


I wish this wasn’t true. I sat staring at my computer trying to come up with an excuse not to write this but I couldn’t think of any. I’m not looking for sympathy or praise. I am trying to help myself. I’d really like to just move on with my life and forget this is even a part of it. My life is happier and healthier than it has ever been. Still, I suffer little blips in my mental health that are very real and I’d like to attempt to shine some light on them here. 

My heart began to palpitate while I was eating lunch two weeks ago. I started the day innocently like most days begin before trouble starts. I thought nothing of it because I’ve dealt with little jumps in my heartbeat all my life. A perfectly normal occurrence, not to draw concern, unless you are like me. I didn’t think much of the palpitations until they happened again as I was lying in my bed that night. This time the palpitations were harder and faster- thump thump, thump, thump, thump thump thump- and they got my attention. I figured that whatever was causing them would clear away as I slept, so I tried to forget them and went to sleep. I woke up around 2 AM and felt the same weird thumps in my chest. Then I was certain, I was dying.  Continue reading “Panic #60”



dji_0035 (1)

I love springtime but I suffer terrible allergies. Debilitating, grating allergies that sometimes prevent me from leaving the house. Most people seem to be affected by the yellow stuff that shows up on cars and in puddles. I am not bothered by that sort of pollen. Although, much like a traffic light, the yellow stuff is a warning that the pollen that sets my immune system on fire is on the way. 

I’m pretty sure it’s ragweed that makes me the most ill. Ragweed is everywhere and it emits invisible spores. The fact I can’t see the enemy is the most frustrating part. If it was the yellow stuff, I’d have a marker. I could go, okay it’s sneezing time for a few weeks until this stuff clears up. Ragweed pollen may not paint cars but it does use my nose as a siren, letting everyone know it is around. Continue reading “Allergies”


Dead Dog

Can you kill a dog? I like to tell myself that I would never in a million years kill a dog, but if I were in a covered wagon crossing the American plains in the 18th century and my family was starving because no one told us how long these friggin’ plains were, I’m afraid I’d have to kill the dog. 

I don’t want to kill this dog. I’m hoping it’s really old. I’m going to tell you why I want this dog to die and you have to promise to hear me out before you judge, okay? The dog barks every day. I can handle dog barks. That’s not it. It’s when and how this dog barks that makes me wish something terrible would happen to it. Like a vocal cord accident of some sort. Continue reading “Dead Dog”


I Sneezed

I’m always sick at the end of the sick-getting season. At the end of February or the beginning of March, you can bet I’ll have a cold or the flu. I get the flu shot every September. Does it expire by February? 

On the morning of February 16th, I sneezed. Just woke up and sneezed. I knew that this was it. No idea if it will last one week or two, but I needed to prepare myself for the worst. I got up and made coffee even though caffeine weakens the immune system. I think I need some terrible tasting green juice that all the assholes drink after the gym. Please, someone blend me up a cure. Continue reading “I Sneezed”