Love of sports comes in many colors

Everyone knows or at least has heard of the song, “Black and yellow” by rapper Wiz Khalifa. According to Wikipedia, it was written in reference to the colors of the sports teams in Pittsburgh. The actual yellow color of those teams it references is ‘old gold,’ but Black and Old Gold doesn’t have quite the same feel to the song.

The colors Black and yellow (or old gold) also is the color of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Socastee High School. I have had ties for years with Wake Forest since my dad and several friends graduated from the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference College in Winston-Salem. It is also one of the reasons my column years ago was given the name Deacon’s Corner. It was also because one of my former editors said it was as though I was “preaching” about sports. Not to mention that the first college football game in the Southeast involved Wake Forest and UNC-Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest won the game, 6-4.

Having graduated from UNC-Pembroke, I naturally have my own ties to the black and yellow (or old gold) because those were our colors. Former UNCP athletic director English E. Jones, who the Health and Physical Education Center is named for, went to Wake Forest. Of course, UNCP is called the Braves. Just as Socastee High School is named the Braves, and they also wear the black and yellow (or old gold). My dad now works with the Braves, so the black and yellow (or old gold) just runs in our family. My brother-in-law even is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan – once again all about the black and yellow (or old gold).

Having family ties to Carolina Forest, and friends that went to The University of South Carolina, I also have familiar ties with the black and garnet. That does not mean that I don’t have some ties to Clemson because they are from the ACC, and I have family that have graduated Clemson, but my favorite of those two remains the black and garnet. The rivalry is awesome between the Tigers and the Gamecocks. It is a “tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme.” In other words, it goes back a few years. Who doesn’t love seeing the smoke and fog roll across Columbia as they blast 2001 Space Odyssey across Williams-Brice Stadium?

If you are a local or not, but you have ever attended a game at Brooks Stadium in Conway or a soccer game at the home of the Chanticleers or seen a baseball game at Watson Stadium, or seen the new HTC Center at Coastal Carolina, you have to be a fan of the black and teal and (old gold).

Having had a chance to cover the teams at Coastal for the past few years, I have seen the men’s soccer team completely dominate the Big South Conference. I have seen the volleyball team open the new HTC Center in front of over 1,000 die-hard, fans sporting the black and teal (and old gold). I have seen the football team take the conference crown. I have seen the baseball team get into the W-column on a regular basis, and even challenge the American League West Champion Texas Rangers at the home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

The women’s soccer team has now won two straight games in the Big South against opponents that came in to the game undefeated in conference play. Plus, they have close connections as a team, including having two sets of sisters that play for the Lady Chanticleers. Coach Hogan has the team ready to take the next step into the upper level of the BSC.

Besides, Coastal Carolina does bolster a tremendous looking campus, great facilities and an outstanding fan support. More importantly, Coastal is approximately a 20 minute drive to the beach. How could you not be a fan of the black and teal (and old gold)? If not, it is time to get on the band wagon and check out Chanticleer country.

Speaking of Coastal, there are two former football standouts that play for this National Football League team in Charlotte. You may have heard of them – The Carolina Panthers. I am talking about cornerback Josh Norman and running back Mike Tolbert. They went wearing the black and teal (and old gold) of Coastal to wearing the black and blue of Carolina.

Norman has totaled 16 solo tackles and assisted on seven tackles through the first four games. He has broken up three pass plays. On the season, Tolbert has 10 carries for 23 rushing yards and one touchdown. He has contributed 10 receptions for 86 yards.

Despite a slow start to the 2012 season in the W-column, that does not deter me at all from pulling whole-heartedly for the black and blue of the Carolina Panthers. I was at the very first game when they played in Death Valley at Clemson. I also got to see John Elway take on the Panthers late in his career with the Denver Broncos. I had the chance to meet Steve Smith when Wake Forest played Connecticut in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, which the Demon Deacons did end up winning late.

Through and through, my loyalty has always been with the black and yellow (or old gold), and teal, and blue, and garnet. I still am a huge sports fan though, so I will always have a spot for the purple and orange, the blue and gold, the green and white, and the countless other colors that teams sport.

After watching the Myrtle Beach-Conway 2012 Battle for the Bell, who wouldn’t be a fan of both of those teams and of high school football for sure. I even had the chance to cover local Rowland, NC football standout Vonte Leach with the Baltimore Ravens.

Oh yeah, I can’t forget about the blue and red of course, because that was my high school and community college colors. Plus, I have family and friends that were Patriots at Francis Marion University, the New England Patriots (since Brady has been my fantasy football quarterback for five years, and helped me to five championships), and most importantly, that is the color of my favorite baseball team – The Atlanta Braves.

So, I guess it is all about the black and yellow (or old gold), garnet, teal, blue; sometimes, orange and purple, green and white (and gold), blue and gold, red and blue. Add in white since I pull for Team USA.

Whatever your team color is, wear it proud, stand up and be loud, and always represent your team in the right way.

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