There were certainly countless living rooms, and basements, and other sports bars in York County that had televisions tuned to the University of South Carolina versus Auburn SEC title football game Saturday evening. Gamecock fans had waited for this game for - well, forever.
But as Auburn scored four touchdowns in the first half, countless words that are not used in nice company were hurled at one place in particular where the crowd was so big that cars were parked down the street with TVs playing in the windows for people to see the game from the sidewalk. Yet the Gamecocks scored two touchdowns in the first half, and cheers poured forth that shook walls so hard pictures fell onto the floor. This had to be Luke's Sports Bar & Grill in Rock Hill.
This was not just some game at Luke's, long one of the Gamecock faithful's holy sites. This was heaven, or pretty close. Of the 200-plus people in the place, the only one not wearing some kind of South Carolina Gamecock clothing was nicknamed Foot, he drank only water, and he was jeered by his buddies for his shirt and his beverage.
Even David "Snuffy" Bailey, who is such a Clemson fan that his dog is orange, wore a Gamecock jersey.
"I lost a bet when Clemson lost to Carolina last week - the bet was come here and root for Carolina in the one bar in York County that is the biggest Gamecock roost of them all," said Snuffy Bailey.
The bet was with Mitch Gaulden, co-owner of the bar and his wife, Jennifer Luke. That couple wore Gamecock garnet and black, as did every other customer in the place. The crowd wished Luke's daughter, Kami Luke-Cannon, a happy 21st birthday, yet Kami was worried about the game, too. She went to high school with USC defensive back Stephen Gilmore at South Pointe High, and is good friends with USC kicker Spencer Lanning, who went to York.
"I want the Gamecocks to win for my birthday," Kami said. "This whole place wants that."
Right on cue, the Gamecocks scored a touchdown late in the second quarter and Luke's Sports Bar was plain, and simple, pandemonium. Grown men the size of side-by side refrigerator-freezers - garnet and red refrigerator-freezers - hugged each other like a war was over.
Then Auburn scored a touchdown on the last play of the first half and a woman wearing Carolina garnet from hair bows to socks threw her hands over her eyes and screamed; "I'm gonna have a nervous breakdown! Call the paramedics!"
The game went on, and Auburn, top-ranked in the whole country, played like it. USC was tough, but it was not to be.
Yet for USC fans, this game they waited their whole lives for was not misery. Roger Rockholt brought his wife, Barbara, for her birthday Saturday, and they had a great time.
"A great birthday," said Barbara. "When you are a fan, you are happy when you win and sad when you lose, but you stay a fan."
Her husband Roger, a truck driver by trade, said, "This was still the best year we have had in a long, long time. Maybe ever. I've been a Gamecock all my life. I love my team and my state - I think we have had a great year."