Love and football: another girl gets the kiss

Who says women don't know football? Ronda Templeton's 'Gridiron & Grits' column is a sports blog with a distinctly female — and Southern — flavor. She's a die-hard fan of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks who brings perspective today on the loss to Georgia Saturday.

When I was a freshman in high school, I had a huge crush on a guy in my English class. His name was Jim and he was adorable. He had the kind of brown-green eyes that smiled, even when he wasn't actually smiling, and perfect, glossy 70s hair.

Jim and I flirted our way through first semester, culminating in a scheduled meeting (but not exactly a date) at the fall sock hop. We slow-danced together, whispered together, had punch together . . . but as the lights went up after the last song, where was Jim? In a lip-lock with another girl.

The sinking feeling I had at the dance was pretty much the same feeling I experienced Saturday night at the end of the Georgia-USC game. We Gamecocks prepared for the event, suited up in our best garnet and black, flirted with victory -- but, there in the stadium lights, the fickle football fates gave Georgia the end-of-the-evening kiss.

The Gamecocks weren't the only jilted lovers on Saturday: When you think about it, half of the teams that played lost. But we came so close -- so close -- in Athens that the defeat seemed terribly cruel.

Then again, the narrow 41-37 loss showed Carolina fans something we haven't seen in a long, long time: a team that fought to the end, a team that refused to melt down and -- best of all -- flashes of hope that this time, after years of waiting, we have a real quarterback in Stephen Garcia.

Truth be told, we gave Georgia a run for its money. If it hadn't been for a couple of costly penalties and a blocked extra point, the Gamecocks might have enjoyed victory's goodnight peck. Ohio State, Notre Dame and -- yes -- even Clemson fans are saying the same thing today, because they were jilted in cruel fashion, too.

That's the way it is in football, as in love. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose -- and sometimes love gets another chance.

If you're wondering what happened with Jim and me, the answer is . . . not much. The temperature in our English class was a lot chillier the Monday after the dance and, the way I remember it, we barely spoke for the rest of the year.

As for the Gamecocks and me, I'll be in the stands next week for our first home game against Florida Atlantic. And I'll be hoping against hope that, at the end of the evening, USC is the recipient of victory's sweet kiss.

It just goes to show that there's a big difference between a high school crush and true love.

For more of Ronda's unique Southern voice, go to Ronda Templeton

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories