Here is the link to that: Tiger Hospitality
“We’ve been out here for four hours and she hasn’t been “tiger baited” yet” said Concienne when talking about his fiance Anna Sanders who was sporting her South Carolina jersey.
The couple arrived to a very different game day atmosphere. Unfamiliar is probably the best word to describe it. A typical home game for the Tigers is pretty insane. The campus is full of energy no matter who the team is playing, there are thousands of people tailgating, RV lots are packed to capacity and traffic is hectic. That was not the case on Saturday because this was not your typical LSU home game.
This was in fact a South Carolina home game. It was being played in Baton Rouge due to unfortunate circumstances; unfortunate circumstances that no one like Tiger fans can relate too.
“We know what it’s like to lose a tooth bush” said Kay Wilkins, Chief Executive of the American Red Cross South Louisiana Region. “We know what it is like to not even have a tooth brush to be able to brush our teeth”.
Ironically during the year of the 10th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, another hurricane has caused massive flooding to an area. This time it was to South Carolina. Hurricane Joaquin drove up the east coast and though it did not make land fall, it left extensive damage on the state. There was record rainfall which resulted in disastrous flooding. There is said to be billions of dollars’ worth of damages. Sadly, there were also lives lost from the flood and many people and families displaced and without homes.
In 2005, LSU had to have their home game switched to Arizona due to hurricane damage. USC was now in the same boat. Soon after the game was switched to Baton Rouge, Wilkins said the Red Cross here was requested to go out and get cash donations to help with flood relief. She was excited to do so and knew the city would be willing to help from the understanding many have of this situation.
“Who better than a Tiger fan can understand how hard it is to rebuild our life after a flood has taken everything you own and turned it into muck” expressed Wilkins.
The Red Cross wasn’t the only group making efforts for flood relief. This was a trend throughout the campus.
“We just felt compelled and called”, said Reverend Mike Watson. “Any chance we get to contribute to those in need or in struggle is a part of our calling as Christians.”
A tailgate on campus called Whiskey Tree got into action as well. They wanted to help so they got a friend’s mom to come out and make cotton candy for tailgaters. The cotton candy was free to all but they did accept donations for the flood disaster relief cause.
“From what I hear LSU fans are pretty intense” said Sanders. “They made me feel at home”.
This was a common feeling around campus from many South Carolina fans. The city of Baton Rouge and the campus of LSU had embraced them with open arms. Joshua Deroche, a graduate of both LSU and South Carolina, was excited with what he and his wife saw at tailgates around campus.
“Everywhere where we passed at all the tailgates you can see South Carolina fans or signs welcoming them”, said Deroche. “It’s really warming to see a fan base do this and recognize someone else's struggle.
Evan Parker, a junior at the University of South Carolina, says the hospitality here has been unmatched.
“While LSU and Gamecocks fans might chippy sometimes, this weekend has been absolutely fantastic”, said Parker. “There has been no hostility just all hospitality”.
“All I can say is thank you”, expressed Parker after recalling all the love, concern and prayer her received from Tiger fans. “Baton Rouge helped us get a win out of all of this”.
Though they did not get a win on the scoreboard, South Carolina fans were indeed the true winners of the weekend. It is easy to “say” you support someone through their struggles but the fans of Tiger land and Baton Rouge actually “showed” their support. It was more than southern hospitality; it was love.
It was not a coincidence that this happened on this to fall. There is not another school in the SEC that would have been able to relate to the situation South Carolina is going through. Despite being conference rivals, LSU and South Carolina will now be connected in a special way. They will forever share a similar story. Many LSU fans had to climb that mountain some South Carolina fans are now facing. However this weekend showed them that they are not in this alone.