When the Tiger Band strikes up the South Carolina fight song, we hope that LSU fans will let loose a huge cheer in Tiger Stadium.
We know how it feels, South Carolina.
Saturday’s big game should have been in Columbia, but the University of South Carolina leadership felt — and we agree with it, from experience — that it would be tough to hold a game during the chaos that still prevails in a rain-sodden state.
Ten years ago, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, Arizona State University hosted the LSU Tigers, who could not play in Baton Rouge as scheduled. The players fought as hard as they always do, but the event was made truly special for us by the generous hospitality and support our team received.
Louisiana will never forget the Sun Devils’ hospitality during our time of trial.
We hope that the people of South Carolina who are able to make it to Baton Rouge for the game will enjoy as memorable an experience.
God knows that Louisiana has had its share of natural disasters, including hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. A football game is such a huge undertaking in the Southeastern Conference, employing more than players and university personnel.
Floodwaters are unforgiving of our schedules. The rivers and streams of South Carolina are going to be challenged into this weekend and beyond by runoff even if the devastating storm has moved on. Moving the game was a tough decision, but it was the right one.
Gov. Nikki Haley hasn’t even guessed yet at the dimensions of the damage, beyond the obvious impact of the loss of life. But after the South Carolina-LSU game has gone into the history books as the 21st meeting of the teams, and as a home game for South Carolina, we are confident that the people of Louisiana will continue to contribute to relief efforts. LSU volunteers will take donations to the American Red Cross on Saturday.
We urge the Louisiana delegation in Congress, at the appropriate time, to be champions for storm relief in South Carolina. In these days of politics and deadlock in the nation’s capital, it can be forgotten that the government of the United States is and ought to be there to help the states in times of extraordinary trial.
There was an unseemly debate over Hurricane Sandy aid in 2012 that we hope is not repeated this year. And in Louisiana, we can only guess how many people in South Carolina contributed to hurricane relief in 2005 and came as volunteers to help us here.
There’s something more important than even football, two fine teams and talented coaches, the fans and the fun. There is the solidarity of the people of Louisiana with those of South Carolina today.
Our hearts and prayers are with you.