By Stan Welch
Like most Southern boys who grew up when I did, I played football from such an early age that we all looked like bobble head dolls running around in our shoulder pads and helmets. We fell down more often than we got knocked down. Nobody played soccer because, well, nobody played soccer.
You would have had an easier time finding a game of dodgeball in my neighborhood than you would a game of soccer. The closest we came to soccer was kickball. No, it was football from August to December back then.
Hockey was played, as it still should be, only in places where ponds and lakes froze. In my humble opinion, when cities like Atlanta and Miami, for crying out loud, started to have hockey teams, this country was headed downhill. And soccer didn’t help either.
Great rivalries grew up on the gridirons of the Southeast. Duke/Carolina, Georgia/ Georgia Tech, Alabama/Auburn, and of course Clemson/Carolina: these were the games of legend.
A couple of weeks ago somebody doomed their soul to eternal damnation, if not a swift and ugly death, by going into Death Valley and busting a chunk off of Howard’s Rock. They defaced one of the great icons in college sports, and tampered with a tradition that is known across the Southern landscape.
And if Dabo Swinney is half as sharp as I think he is, those scoundrels just might have put Clemson on the road to their finest season in decades. You see, Coach Dabo Swinney is a great recruiter, and a hellacious motivator. And this is my suggestion to him.
The Tigers open their season at home against the Georgia Bulldogs. Well, between now and then, I would cuss those anti-social, under-achieving, addled brained Athens delinquents for messing with Howard’s Rock every chance I got; every chance until we get that bunch of drooling, slobbering, bowlegged, nose breathing mutts into Death Valley and give them the spanking a bad dawg deserves. .
Once we had that dawg scalp salted away, I’d immediately release the preliminary results of the ongoing investigation into the vandalism of Howard’s Rock. What do you know? There were horse droppings found on the field and a couple of eagle feathers suspected to have come from the headdress of Chief Osceola, the Florida State mascot.
Well, certainly no one would suspect a fine Christian gentleman like Bobby Bowden to have anything to do with such chicanery . . . BUT that low down Jimbo Fisher that took over for Coach Bowden is a whole different kettle of fish. Why a grown man who still goes by the name Jimbo is capable of anything.
Nosiree, you couldn’t put it past him. That’s for certain. And I would beat that tomtom till every Clemson fan’s head hurt from it . . . right up until that bunch of war-painted woebegone warriors from Tallahassee got their rear ends kicked right there in Death Valley by some pretty steamed up Tigers.
About the time those Seminoles were getting on the plane home, I’d have a whopping big press conference with some PhDs in chemistry and microbiology and poultry management announcing that extensive and irrefutable DNA testing had established that the feathers found in Death Valley, and originally identified as eagle feathers, were in fact chicken feathers!
That’s right. Those feathers came from nothing scarier than a barnyard rooster. And then I’d load up on those buses and go straight to Williams Brice field and start wringing some necks.
And if that isn’t good enough for an undefeated season, Howard’s Rock ain’t where the rub should be.