Sometimes, even when you don’t win, you do.
South Carolina didn’t win a third consecutive national championship. They didn’t hoist another trophy over their heads. They didn’t solidify themselves as the best team in the country.
But you know what they did do? They played a hell of season, and did it with class.
The odds were incredibly stacked against the Gamecocks in the beginning of the year. Do you remember the 1-5 start in the SEC? That same team rallied back to make it to the College World Series finals. This was a team full of young talent with some veterans sprinkled in who battled as hard as anyone. That is winning.
This was a team who built off past successes to carry a win streak to 22 consecutive postseason victories; a record that will never, ever be broken. That is winning.
This was a team that over and over defied all expectations and rallied to victories when nobody expected them to. They captured the hearts of Gamecock fans everywhere. That is winning.
Congratulations to the Gamecock baseball team on a damn fine season. Congrats to Michael Roth and Matt Price for cementing their legacy as two of the greatest players in Gamecock and College World Series history. Congrats to Adam Matthews and Evan Marzilli on being leadership figures and showing new players how to be winners. Congratulations to Grayson Greiner, Jordan Montgomery, and other young players who stepped up and often played well beyond their age. Everyone who suited up for the team this year should hold their heads high. Gamecock Nation is proud of you; proud of your fight, proud of your spirit, and proud of how you represented us. You once again showed us all why championship baseball IS Carolina baseball.
“To bear defeat with dignity, to accept criticism with poise, to receive honors with humility -- these are marks of maturity and graciousness.” – William Arthur Ward
When the game was over, I nervously checked online expecting to see the worst.
Instead I saw the best.
I saw hundreds of people over every form of media expressing their gratitude. They didn’t complain about the umpiring; they exclaimed their pride in their team. They didn’t blame the players; they thanked them for their work. They didn’t forget what colors they wear; they lifted them higher.
You want the sign of a fan base that knows what it is like to win? Watch them congratulate the team they lose to on a game well played.
Sometimes people look to things I craft for inspiration; this time it was the other way around. Thank you Gamecock Nation for reminding everyone why you are the best fan base in the country.
Ray Tanner said after the game “I may be disappointed with the results, but I’m not disappointed with my players.”
Neither are we Coach, neither are we.
“And if you cut us, we will just bleed garnet.”
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