Hattie’s View: Thanksgiving and College Football
By Ellen Coffey
Happy Thanksgiving! It’s almost my favorite Holiday! Most of us will be chowing down on all that comfort food, over indulging on the most sinful desserts, followed by, for some, a family tradition of Black Friday shopping at the mall. For Hubby Ben and me, we’re settling in to watch College Football!
What a great way to spend the long Holiday weekend! Right?
Today is the last of our series of columns on History and Traditions of Carolina and Clemson Football (for comments email me at [email protected])
“And you didn’t even mention our George Rogers, Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier are in the College Football Hall of fame” Hubby complains.
“I’m writing about Clemson’s rock,” I tease.
I think the story of the rock at Clemson’s Frank Howard field at Memorial Stadium in ‘Death Valley’ is interesting.
In the early 1960’s the rock was presented to then head coach Frank Howard, to Death Valley SC from Death Valley, California, by his friend Samuel Columbus Jones.
It was used as a ‘door stop’ for several years before it was tossed into the hands of Gene Willimon, IPTAY executive, who had the bright idea to place the ROCK on a pedestal at the top of the East endzone hill. Where the team began to rub the rock before the run down hill onto the field.
Realizing the motivational potential of the rock, Coach Howard said, “Give me 110 percent or you keep your filthy hands off my rock!” That was how the rubbing of the ROCK tradition began.
Since 1992, when the rock was vandalized, it has had protection for 24 hours before the Clemson-South Carolina games, when played at Death Valley.
“Just watch on the jumbotron, as two bus loads of players escorted by police officers gather around the rock. They hear the cannon sound, the band beats out Tiger Rag as players make their way down the hill!” Hubby listens quietly.
Anyway, is it any wonder Sports Castor Brent Musburger referred to that moment as the most exciting 25 seconds in college football?
“Hon? Hon? You know I love our Gamecocks! Who needs to rub a rock to win anyway?”