Gamecock Baseball: More than a Game

“Dad” says Little Dude, “When I grow up I’m going to play baseball just like Grayson Greiner.” “That would be okay with me son” I replied.

What brought this little exchange on? Well, let me set the scene for you as you get ready to watch this little clip. It’s the bottom of the ninth inning, bases loaded, two outs. The South Carolina Gamecocks are trailing the Tennessee Volunteers 6-5. As a fan, you are hoping for the magic, but will settle for the tie. As a Gamecock fan, you know your team has the “Win Anyway” attitude but also has your deepest support not matter what happens. Then Greiner, the Gamecock’s catcher,  steps up to the plate. First pitch is a strike. You start to get nervous. Then this happens:

A walk off grand slam at home, in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs. I cannot express the excitement that ran through me as I watched this unfold. For that matter, Greiner himself couldn’t express his feelings.

Before I continue, I think it should be noted that this wasn’t even the first walk off game winner of the day. Game one in the series against Tennessee was delayed in the bottom of the 12th due to rain, and resumed the next day. In the bottom of the 14th, Jordan Gore wins it for South Carolina with a walk off, solo homer. Just hours before game 2 began that lead to the video above. Needless to say, that was a great day to be a Gamecock.

This of course isn’t the only year we’ve watched our beloved Gamecocks shine in baseball. The program saw back-to-back NCAA National Championship wins in 2010 & 2011, and between 2010-2012 set to NCAA records for most NCAA tournament wins and most consecutive wins in the College World Series. It’s been a hell of a few years for Gamecocks Baseball, and a great feeling being a die-hard Gamecock fan.

My family is rooted in Gamecock tradition. The majority of my family has attended the University of South Carolina. We’ve been to basketball games, football games, baseball games. We’ve stuck by our team through the worst and best of seasons. It has been a family passion that I am proud to pass down to my son now. Every game we can catch online, we watch together. Even letting him stay up past bedtime when the rally caps go on like they did against Tennessee.

But there is more to it than just watching a team and celebrating victories like we have. As Little Dude has grown, and gotten involved in sports himself, there have been lessons learned from watching games together. He’s definitely a step ahead in knowing how to read the signals from the umpire indicating the count. He understands a foul ball is a strike and that it takes 4 balls to get a walk. He figured out what they announcers mean by “sacrifice bunt” and “RBI”, knows his bases, and knows each player’s position on the team.

Gamecocksonline.comBut the most important things that Gamecock Baseball has taught my son have nothing to do with the rules. They have everything to do with sportsmanship, attitude, and determination. As a young man who has just started participating in sports, learning lessons about losing, about keeping on against competition, and learning from mistakes has become invaluable.

Around the Gamecock Baseball world you hear the words “Win Anyway” constantly. They are shouted, said, hashtagged, on so on. The first lesson learned: Determination. We have watched the faces of determination for a few years now. Listening to interviews with players and coaches about the drive it takes to persevere and win anyway. This has translated to a drive in Little Dude to always try his best no matter what sport he is playing.

Another great thing about the Gamecocks over the last few years is the ability to be good sports and recognize their shortcomings. You hear this in interviews, you hear it from the announcers. These guys don’t get angry with players from the other team when they lose, they don’t go looking for blame on the umpires (not often anyway. Looking at you Holbrook), and they are quick to recognize where things went wrong. This has been a good way for me to show Little Dude about being a good sport. Of course, he gets upset when his team loses. But seeing how the “big boys” of sports act after losing has been beneficial. While he still gets upset, he has learned to not be mad and speak bad of the other teams. He is learning to recognize when he has played not up to par and we learn and prepare for the next one.

Gamecocks Baseball is quickly becoming family tradition in our house in the spring. Especially now that my dad set us up to be able to stream games online. A family, spread out over 250 miles, texting, tweeting, and calling about games and plays. When we’re all together, watching them as our family has for years. And on the bigger spectrum, not only has it been good time spent with my son, but a teaching tool for a young man, who dreams of being Grayson Greiner.


The Beginning
About The Geeky Nimrod

Husband, Father, Thinker, Geek, Mobile Tech Enthusiast, Writer. I am the one who.... Knocks politely and possibly not even loud enough for you to hear. Just another dude on the internet.

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