2011-11-30 / Columns

LEDGER COLUMNIST

I was beginning to get nervous


CODY SOSSAMON PUBLISHER CODY SOSSAMON PUBLISHER According to one definition I found, sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one’s competitors.

Being a ‘good sport’ is, in my book anyway, a highly desirable trait and one that I’m getting better at but still fall woefully short on way too many occasions.

I bring this subject up because last Friday I was witness to some great displays of sportsmanship.

The 5th Annual Clemson-Carolina Shootout golf tournament was held at Cherokee National Golf Club on its usual date of the day after Thanksgiving and the day before THE GAME.

Some members of the club — Carolina fans and Clemson fans — got together a few years back and decided to have a golf tournament to add a little excitement to the rivalry weekend.

As an added incentive, we decided that the winning team on the golf course would get to fly the school flag at the clubhouse on Saturday during football season. And on Sundays if the team won the game.

Carolina won the golf tournament the first years, but lost the football game. Clemson won the next two years, but lost the football game. There seemed to be a pattern developing. Also, Carolina didn’t get to fly its flag those first two years. Why, you ask? We did not have a flag pole. Money raised from the tournaments was used to buy flags and a pole. It took us two years to do that.

The Shootout has gotten more popular each year with each team having 28 players this year. In the weeks leading up to the tournament, both sides vocalize their opinions in good-natured banter on what the outcome will be.

As things ‘heated up’ leading into this year’s match, Clemson team captain Dean Camp made a small wager with the Gamecock’s captain — yours truly.

“You wear a Clemson shirt if we win and I’ll wear a Carolina shirt if you win,” he challenged.

I had no choice but to accept the wager and even raised the stakes.

“And the loser will get his picture on the front page of The Ledger!”

Game on.

The more I thought about it, the more I began to think I had gotten the short end of that bet. I shuddered at the thought of putting a picture of me wearing a Tiger shirt on the front page of this newspaper. Having the Paw flying over the golf course is bad enough, but at least I can divert my eyes and don’t have to look up at it. A picture in this newspaper is eternal. Once it’s there it’s there. For generations to see. Oh my. I was beginning to get nervous.

Fortunately for me, the Gamecocks won on the golf course and Dean had to don his Gamecock apparel.

And he did it with a smile on his face and even held up a finger signifying Number 1 and pointed to the Carolina logo with his other hand.

He and his teammates were gracious in defeat as I hope we were in victory. The bottom line is everyone battled on the course but when it was over we all remained friends.

The match ended up 16-12 (one point for every match won or 1/2 for a tie). We needed 14 1/2 to win so if two of the matches had gone the other way...

And they could have very easily.

I want to congratulate my Clemson brethren on a match well played and compliment them and their captain on their exemplary sportsmanship.

Go Tigers! Beat Virginia Tech!

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Cody Sossamon (cody@gaffneyledger.com) is publisher of The Gaffney Ledger.

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