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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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

One Year Later


I thought I knew the day I quit smoking. “September, 21 2012.” I remember the things that happened that day. The Carolina Panthers lost on the road to a 50-yard hail mary thrown by that stupid Matt Ryan and the United States Ryder Cup team lost a huge lead to Europe at home. It’s been dubbed, “The Miracle at Medinah.” Not smoking for an entire day was “The Miracle on Felix Street.” I didn’t sit down. I paced around my living room all day. I said to myself, “If I don’t smoke a cigarette today, I’ll never smoke again.” I didn’t. And I never have since. I discovered I had the date of those events wrong. For six years, I’ve been donning my “Another Year without Cigarettes” party hat nine days early. September 30th, 2012 is my official quit date. But that is not the point. The point is, I have never smoked again.

Today, I’ve gone 365 days without consuming alcohol. Well, there’s a trace amount found in kombucha. The stupid state of North Carolina requires ID to purchase “Gingerade” because of it. I drink six ounces of kombucha a day. That amount of alcohol couldn’t knock a no-see-um on its ass. Continue reading “One Year Later”

Charleston, Humor


Formerly a quiet field of grass

Beep, beep, beep. They are building a 300-unit apartment complex outside my apartment window. Every piece of heavy equipment must beep. In the 90’s, they only used to beep when they went backwards. But now, some of them beep when they go backwards and forwards, side to side. Continue reading “Beep”

Charleston, Humor, Travel

Jack Hanna Flies Coach


On a recent trip out of Charleston, I noticed a celebrity on my flight to Atlanta. None other than TV’s Jack Hanna was standing with his wife, waiting for his boarding zone to be called. I didn’t bother him. I like the man and I appreciate his work, but he’s not exactly the Crocodile Hunter. The odd thing about the encounter was that “Premium” was already boarding and I was next in “Sky” (because I foolishly paid more for the extra leg room and the free banana) and Jack and his wife weren’t in my boarding group. They were in coach with all the other people who weren’t international TV personalities or frequent Late Show with David Letterman guests. Continue reading “Jack Hanna Flies Coach”

Charleston, Humor, Travel

Charleston Tourist Season

Drone picture I took of The Holy City

Charleston, South Carolina used to have a tourist season. Tourism would begin to ramp up during the weekend of “SEWE,” which stand for the “South Eastern Wildlife Expo,” and continued until Thanksgiving. But after major travel publications like Conde Nast and Travel+Leisure named Charleston the “Number 1 tourist destination in the world” (good lawd, y’all) there is no longer a tourist “season” in Charleston; tourist flock here year round. 

I am not one of these “poo-poo the tourists” locals. In fact, I’m not even counted as a “local” by the poo-poo people. Your family has to have lived in Charleston for 2-3 hundred years before you’ll be welcomed at any Battery-addressed soiree without at least one disapproving glare as you walk through the door. I’ve lived in Charleston for 15 years, but in the eyes of the Blue-Bloods, I’m closer to a tourist than a resident. Which is why I believe I am most qualified to offer this list to tourists because, basically, I am one who simply hasn’t left since 2005.

There are hundreds of “Charleston Tourist Guides” on the internet. A few years ago, I wrote a piece called the “Ten Things I Hate about Charleston.” Not my finest work as it was an attempt to be different in the realm of Charleston lists, but worth a look if you’re interested. What I didn’t find on the internet was something that prepared you for being a tourist in Charleston. So instead of telling you what to do and where to go (I’ll do some of that), hopefully this piece will prepare you for being a tourist in Charleston and give you an idea what to expect while you’re here.  Continue reading “Charleston Tourist Season”


Don’t Hate Carrots

Hop T. Hare loves baloney, but all he was allowed to eat was carrots. Hop was so sick of carrots. Once, he ate so many carrots, he turned orange. 

One day, Hop was playing in a yard and he saw an open window. Normally, Rabbits don’t sneak into Human houses, but Hop had refused to eat his breakfast carrots this morning and he was starving. Hop, against all his Rabbit judgement, jumped through the window and went to the kitchen. Continue reading “Don’t Hate Carrots”