Fort Mill Times

Column: Gamecocks or Tigers? Tough choice

I was recently faced with one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make since I moved to South Carolina.

It had been looming for a while, and I kept putting it off. Many of my fellow transplants have been at a similar crossroads, though some will always be stuck in their old ways and may never pull the trigger.

But this big decision finally came to a head one afternoon. I had decided to play golf after work one evening, and realized I forgot to pack a hat. I needed to buy a new one.

Was it going to be a South Carolina Gamecocks hat, or a Clemson Tigers hat?

Decisions, decisions.

At the same time, I should also admit that I am not a huge sports fan. Whichever hat I picked was really of little consequence, at least in the near future, because the chances of me going to a sporting event, or even just visiting either campus in the foreseeable future, are slim. But I started to think about my children, and how in just a few short years (10 to be precise) my son will likely be applying to one or the other. How was I going to guide him if I had no loyalty to either university myself?

I have always heard such good things about Clemson’s academics, and who doesn’t want their kids to go to a great school?

But, the University of South Carolina also has such a great aura to it. I even found an old picture of myself wearing a University of South Carolina T-shirt in high school. I’m not sure where it came from, or why I was wearing it, but it does seem like an eerie bit of foreshadowing.

Then it came down to mascots. My high school mascot was the Tigers. It seemed like a logical decision to decide to continue on cheering for the Tigers.

Besides, who wants to cheer for the “Gamecocks?” Until I read that the mascot was named after Thomas Sumter (the namesake of Fort Sumter), who was nicknamed the “Carolina Gamecock” because of his aggressive fighting style, I had little regard for the name. Suddenly, there was a little more gravity to the mascot that has been the punch line of many, many jokes.

As I have written before, our decision to move to South Carolina was a whirlwind. We made several life changing decisions as if we were playing the Game of Life. Looking back, it is hard to comprehend how we never really made the decision to move, the decision just made itself and we unraveled from there.

Why was picking out a hat such an agonizing decision?

Then it hit me like a slap to the forehead:

Orange has never been a good color on me.

Jim Donohue can be reached at