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To the top

The 2011 season saw the Gamecocks band together, form a brotherhood, and become something great. So where do they go from here?

To the top.

The players

Individually, Gamecock players have been very good for a long time. Legends have donned the Garnet & Black and gone on to very successful NFL careers.

Sterling Sharpe, John Abraham, George Rogers

Many are continuing to make an impact in the NFL today.

Sidney Rice, Captain Munnerlyn, Jasper Brinkley

The thing was, none of the teams those players were on ever managed to become truly great. South Carolina never managed to band together and rise above their collective individuality.

That changed in 2010 when the Gamecocks won the East and was cemented in 2011. That changed when the South Carolina banded together through struggle and hardships – creating something collectively great. That changed when they ‘won anyway’.

Now 2012 is here and the feeling in the air isn’t one of ‘relax’ or ‘you did it’, it’s one of ‘keep going’.

Now isn’t the time for the players to sit back and relax; to ride on the coattails of their past accomplishments. The second you allow yourself to think you are the best, is when you aren’t anymore. The Gamecocks know they aren’t the only ones working hard right now. Do you think Florida is just sitting around? Do you think Tennessee doesn’t have a chip on its shoulder? Do you think Georgia doesn’t want to lift up another trophy?

So who wants it more? Who is willing to work harder? Who is willing to keep going when everyone else can’t?

This 2012 team gets it; they have the leadership, they have the experience, and they have the coach who can take them to where they want to go. Just take this quote from Connor Shaw:

“This teams’ commitment level has been its best since I’ve been here…It’s truly a brotherhood and we take pride in what we are trying to accomplish this year. We have been breaking it down to ‘to the top’ during our workouts…we won’t settle for less.”

Not every member of the 2012 team is going to go on to a career in football. Many of them know this, yet they still practice and give their all every day. They do it for their team, and they do it for Gamecock Nation.

They will not settle for less from themselves, so they shouldn’t expect less from us.

The nation

Football season is about more than just drinking at a tailgate and yelling inside a stadium; it’s about having pride.

Pride in your school. Pride in your team. Pride in your state.

It doesn’t always come easy; just like the players get tired on the field, sometimes the fans get tired in the stands. That September game against ECU is going to be hot. It would be easy for those with tickets to just stay home and watch it on TV.

But did the players just sleep in during the summer because it was ‘too hot’?

I’ve seen the pride and the dedication that Gamecock Nation has. We love our players, we love our school, and we love Saturdays in the fall.

Need an example? The Big Spur exists and many dedicated professionals make a living off of it because fans want any information on the team they can get, no matter how big or small of a news story it is.

That’s pride, that’s dedication.

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.” – Abraham Lincoln

The University of South Carolina is the flagship university of the state and thus represents it. From 864, to 803, to 843 we are all united under a garnet banner and we all have something to cheer for. Grandparents cheer with their grandchildren, fathers and mothers with their sons and daughters, friends with their arms around each other. This is about the memories we build and the relationships we form. It’s about those moments when thousands of fists across the country are raised at the exact same moment.

It’s the pure joy and electric atmosphere that only comes when many are united for a singular cause.

So now it’s time for the fans to rise up again. If the players are heading to the top, we need to be right there with them. It’s time to show the nation why South Carolina has the most dedicated fans in the country. We’ve experienced the bad times and stood tall, no we get to enjoy the good.

So wear your colors proudly no matter where you live; we aren’t just confined to one city or state. It doesn’t matter what you do, who you are, or how long you have been a Gamecock…all that matters is that we are united, heading ‘to the top’.

Be sure to visit Justin King’s Facebook page and follow him on Twitter.

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