The dark side of humanity can be brought out in a number of ways, and here in the online sports media realm we regularly encounter two of them.
First and foremost, losing will bring out the bad in any fan. This isn’t totally unforeseen because no one likes to lose, but it does force fans to live in the moment and shrinks their foresight into a tunnel the width of a tick’s behind.
Losses — specifically the unforeseen ones — keep fans from looking at the grander picture and instead has them rabble-rousing about how “this loss is the worst thing ever” when it rarely ever is.
The second evil we deal with regularly here at SB Nation is the internet. While the internet gives us a number of great things like this video cut up of Michael Keaton being astonished at mascots hurting themselves, it has an equal amount is negative qualities.
Perhaps the worst quality of them all being anonymity. The internet has given everyday Joe the ability to say whatever they want with little to no consequence. This is evidenced by every comment section and every forum you can find on the web: I probably don’t need to elaborate any further than that.
When you bring losing and internet commenting together it paints an awful yet brilliantly enlightening picture of the true nature in certain fans. Now this isn’t specific to just the South Carolina fan base — you’ll find this phenomenon occurring in every sports blog’s Facebook page or comment section.
But for today’s lecture, we will specifically focus some of you out there in Gamecock Nation. Following Saturday’s frustrating loss to Ole Miss fans came out in droves to voice their displeasure about how South Carolina once again has collapsed down the stretch of a basketball season where they’re seemingly tournament bound.
While some Gamecock fans took the loss in stride like normal human beings or could at least look ahead at having a double-bye in the SEC tournament — there were others who behaved like deranged neckbeards from the worst depths of 4Chan.
These kinds of comments weren’t limited to Facebook — they’re all over Twitter as well.
Chad Holbrook and Frank Martin are good regular season coaches but will never ge USC to the next level! #numberslie— rick kester (@rickkester1) March 5, 2017
These are merely a few samples of what you’ll find lurking around on Gamecock internet. After reading through all of this sewage I just have one thing to ask you select Gamecock fans who share the above opinions:
What the hell is wrong with you?
Not even two seasons of tournament-quality basketball and all of a sudden you’re entitled to perfection? Is that really all it takes to sends you loons into a maroon-faced rage?
Need I remind everyone where this program was just two years ago? To the date South Carolina was 14-15 and 5-12 in the SEC, not even close to sniffing even an NIT berth. Go back another year and the Gamecocks were 11-19 and 4-13 in the SEC.
By the gravity of some fan’s reactions you’d think Frank Martin had taken over a program with the history and tradition of North Carolina or Kansas. New flash: Frank Martin left a program with more basketball chops for a program who barely has any.
Let’s lay out where exactly South Carolina fits in the grand scheme of college basketball. In the last 40 years the Gamecocks have:
- Been to four NCAA tournaments
- Are 0-4 in those four tournament appearances
- Have won the SEC regular season title once
- Has never won the SEC or ACC tournament
That is a pitiful basketball resume. If South Carolina were to walk into the college basketball office of employment with that piece of paper it would barely qualify to flip burgers.
There are plenty of people reading this who can’t even remember the last time South Carolina made the tournament. Do you remember a single player of that 2004 team? Desean Taylor, Cam Harvey and Tim Williams would be ashamed of all of you.
Don’t recognize those names? It’s because I made them up, and you wouldn’t have known the difference because that’s how long it’s been since South Carolina has been relevant in the world of college basketball. Where y’all this upset when that team went 8-8 in conference? I doubt it.
Unfortunately I don’t have the time to go back to Friendster or MySpace to if the same fans bitching and griping about the team not playing at a top-five level were doing the same thing back in 2004. I probably wouldn’t need proof, because basketball has never been a priority at South Carolina. Frank Martin has made it one in four years.
Yes, we didn’t like Darrin Horn and the mediocrity that came with him — but no one ever went out of their way to demand perfection from his teams. In 2010 fans would have been thrilled with an NIT appearance, because for South Carolina that has been a big deal.
The fans of this men’s basketball program needs to learn to appreciate what they have. In five years if Frank Martin is gone and replacement “Coach X” has the team back in the 12-20 rut, you’re all going to look and feel like jackasses for acting so entitled with your basketball team.
This team doesn’t owe you perfection because it has no idea what perfection looks like. They’re allowed slip-ups, no matter how frustrating they may seem — and the loss to Ole Miss was absolutely maddening.
Trust me, I was right there along with you. I was sitting at my desk at the Statesboro Herald working my usual Saturday night, glaring at my second monitor to see my Alma Mater down 20 to Ole Miss in the second half. The team’s inconsistent performances from day-to-day make me want to grind my teeth into dust — but then I remember where the team was two years ago.
It’s okay to be frustrated when the team doesn’t do well, but expecting South Carolina to go 26-4 every season like Kentucky or Duke is just silly. A team this new to success will have their downfalls and pits. It happens. Deal with it.
South Carolina will make the tournament, regardless of what happens this week at the SEC’s. It is something that should be celebrated, considering I was 12 the last time the Gamecocks were in the big dance.
And any time you want to whine about a loss or South Carolina falls short of perfection, just remember three years ago South Carolina was nine seeds lower than they will be as a No. 4 when the play on Friday.