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Finding balance: being a South Carolina fan and blogger can be challenging

My first column of the football season tries to explain how I cover this team

North Carolina State v South Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

I’m a fan of many sports, but if you took away the NBA for a year I would be able to keep on living. Same goes for the MLB, EPL and even the NFL — though that one would be admittedly hard to swallow.

However, if you took away my college football season I would truly be disoriented. It’s a sport I’ve grown up with since I’ve been able to form memories and is something I structure my social and work life around every fall. Spending Saturday’s in front of my TV watching Auburn games with my Dad are what have led me to what I do for a living today.

Like Tom Sizemore says in the Michael Mann masterpiece “Heat”, “The action is the juice” and I felt all of that Saturday afternoon when it was 4th-and-10, backs against the wall with a season-swinging game on the line.

I stood in font of my television, hands clinched behind my head while standing on the tips of my toes, as Ryan Finley rolled to the top of my TV screen looking to tie the game. I had no idea if he was going to find Jaylen Samuels again for a touchdown or if somehow, someway the Gamecock secondary was going to come up with one final play.

When DJ Smith tipped that ball my heart stopped. “Surely Samuels or Kelvin Harmon is going to dive under that ball and crush my soul,” I thought to myself. “I’ve seen this happen one too many times before.”

But when the ball hit the ground harmlessly I jumped so high I’m surprised I didn’t leave two, fist-sized holes in my ceiling from where my arms where raised in victory. I honestly didn’t think South Carolina was going to win that game and in those instances I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.

But when the dust of my euphoria settled and my heart had slowed to a normal pace, it was time to take off my Gamecock fan hat and put on my journalism hat. It was time to set my emotions aside and comb through the stats to get a better picture of what really happened in the game.

There’s plenty of things that can pass my eye by when I’m watching South Carolina games as a fan, but if I’m being paid by SB Nation to give readers the best information possible I can’t wear my South Carolina fan hat while doing so. It’s not fair to the readers.

It’s a constant battle I have with myself when I come on to the site and write content for Garnet and Black Attack. I love my alma mater. I spent some of the best years of my life on campus and not a day goes by where I don’t miss working on my laptop on the back steps of Gambrell or riding my bike so fast down Henderson Street I could merge in with traffic coming through Blossom Street.

However, as much as I love swimming through nostalgia and wearing my South Carolina swag around Statesboro I refuse be the “homer” media guy. Some of you may like listening to the homer because all you like in your media coverage is having your predetermined opinion confirmed. And you have every right to do that.

However, you also have every right to sound incredibly stupid when you bring your ill-informed opinions to the water cooler on Monday morning. Trust me, the very last thing I want is for South Carolina fans to sound like idiots to their Georgia and Clemson coworkers. Let them sound stupid by regurgitating their homerisms, but not you Gamecock reader.

I want to make sure all South Carolina fans who read our content are the best informed and I’m not doing that if I’m spewing rainbow-colored fluffernutter after every game. Every win and loss has their positives and their negatives and need to be discussed. A “win-is-a-win” doesn’t fly around here.

So when I write something about South Carolina’s offense not playing as well as many people had propped them up to Saturday, I’m not doing it to be a hater. I’m doing it because that’s what the data says. 4.1 yards a play isn’t a good output for an offense and the readers deserve to know that.

I don’t mean to come off so self-righteous here as if I’m standing by myself on an islands fighting a lone fight, but it’s something I feel as if I need to clear up after some of the comments I read on my Five Observations piece that ran Sunday morning.

A few things we spotted from last night's victory over N.C. State

Posted by Garnet and Black Attack on Sunday, September 3, 2017

A few things we spotted from last night's victory over N.C. State

Posted by Garnet and Black Attack on Sunday, September 3, 2017

A few things we spotted from last night's victory over N.C. State

Posted by Garnet and Black Attack on Sunday, September 3, 2017

First, that last one is a little harsh. I feel like I’m a pretty nice guy if you really get to know me. Secondly, enough with #FakeNews. Fake news would have been an article saying South Carolina lost to North Carolina State by 50. Just because you don’t agree with something supported by facts doesn’t make it fake news. You think adults would understand that seemingly simple concept but clearly #FakeNews has spread its toxic tentacles to our blog too.

I can make critical observations about South Carolina while being a fan too. It’s the same way I believe a lot of people go about raising their kids or go about their relationships with their spouses. You can love someone and still be critical of their behaviors if you deem them inappropriate or unnecessary.

That’s how I conduct myself as the co-manager of this blog. Everyone needs to know that I am a card-carrying fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks and an objective journalist that is going to feed you the information you need — whether you like it or not.

I hope this clears up any confusion for any of the good people who choose us as their Gamecock reading material. I appreciate all of your clicks and time spent on the site and I do ask you all to keep coming back. Thanks, and Go Cocks.