View of a Hero

For those of you hoping to read a rapid reaction to South Carolina’s narrow victory over the Volunteers of Tennessee, I’m sorry to tell you I just didn’t have the heart to write about what, in the grand scheme of life, is a silly game.  I do, however, hope you will bear with me as I attempt to capture the emotions I, along with every member of Gamecock Nation, have been feeling.

Dear Marcus Lattimore,

You don’t know me, but I have been watching Gamecock football since I was only 4 years old. I have watched great players come and go. I have watched every week with the same awe I felt at my first home game in 1994. Even in college, seeing the football players around campus caused that boyhood excitement to well up inside of me. These players were celebrities to me.

Marcus, you have become so much more than that to everyone not only just in Columbia but around the nation. You have become a legend and a hero. Your drive and determination on the football field could have been enough to win the hearts of all Gamecock faithful, but what separates you from so many other athletes is who you are off of the field. I’m sure you are told this often, but I have never seen someone with so much God-given talent also have the humility that you show every day.

Knowing who you are now, I wish I could go back and watch you shun the Auburn hat for the garnet and black. I wish I could go back and see your coming out party against Georgia later that same year. I wish I could see you thrash Florida in the Swamp. I wish I could see you break our all time TD record. I wish I could see all these things and so many others for the first time again, but with the emotions I have now. What I did see was two football teams coming together in an extremely moving moment. I saw a stadium cheer as loud as they would for a big score. I saw people around the nation, be they athletes, analysts, or average joes, take to the airwaves in a unified cause I have not seen happen for many things. This was all in support of you.

Support for LattimoreFor the first time ever in my life, I saw a football player injured on the field and didn’t just see an unfortunate accident and a missing piece of the puzzle. As I said, you don’t know me, but I saw my brother in pain. I can’t speak for every Gamecock, but the ones I have spoken to have described very similar experiences. Some in tears, some in prayer, some in complete shock.

I tell you this to show you how much you have inspired not just me or my friends or my fellow fan, but the entire country. To me, a hero is someone that, despite adversity, demonstrates to the world his best qualities. Forgive the silly comparison, but Batman in his latest film is my quintessential hero. Despite being beaten and broken, he fought through all pain and suffering and rose.  This insatiable drive is what made Batman my hero when I was growing up. Marcus, you are my hero now. Keep strong in your faith and in who you are.

Marcus, this off-season you rose for us. I’m sure I speak for every Gamecock, be it coach, player, or fan, that this season, we rise for you.

Forever to thee,

Nick Estes and every Gamecock

Photo Credits: GamecockCentral.com, FITSNews

Update: Come support Lattimore and the whole team at a rally on the horseshoe tomorrow! (even better, it’s his birthday).

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  • BBecks721

    Prayers and well wishes for a complete and speedy recover. Marcus, GAMECOCK NATION is with you all the way!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1075325349 Ella Mayes Latham

    Prayers for a speedy and full recovery from Bama Nation…….We are all one family in Gods eyes!

  • http://twitter.com/krose2442 Kelsey

    I’m a born and raised Clemson fan and this letter brought me to tears. Not only is Marcus Lattimore an excellent player but he is a great person. He, his family, and gamecock nation will stay in my prayers.

  • #21MyHero

    Amen Brother! all my emotions are portrayed in your letter! I have never met Marcus, but I cried like my brother was severely injured. He has been a true inspiration and role model for me.

  • Raven

    All of this hand-wringing for a football player? He KNEW the risks of being injured before he strapped on his pads. He got hurt – he’ll live – big whoop, he may have to get a real job instead of being paid millions playing pro-ball (and probably be broke before he’s 30 years old). Impress me by writing stories about kids diagnosed with cancer who will never make it to their prom much less become an adult. Sports fans really irk me but all these tears for a guy most people have never met and his one claim to fame is playing a game? People really have some screwed-upped priorities in life; especially people whose entire week is made or broken on whether some 19 year old kid makes a winning touchdown. Al Bundy is a mental giant among most sports fans.

    • Randall Stewart

      Raven, here’s a story we did back in June about a kid with cancer. Hope it impresses you. http://garnetreport.com/charlie-peters-a-story-of-illness-baseball-and-the-lifelong-friendships-made-through-both/

      • iambateman

        #winna.

      • Raven

        A guy who straps on pads to play a game is NOT a hero. A fireman who rushes into a burning building to save lives, a cop who steps in to protect the public, a SEAL who tries to save an Ambassador that the President refuses to help – those are heroes. Sports figures are not heroes. Randall, I bet you’ve never done a story on a construction worker injured on the job trying to provide for his family or a single mother working two jobs to give her kid(s) a chance for a better life. Those are heroes – not some college football player. Anybody who plans their whole weekend around sports on TV already are lacking in having anything resembling a real life.

        • The Real World

          You obviously have some real issues that you need to deal with personally, which shows that you should spend your time dealing with that instead of reading these articles

        • Rosewood8

          It’s really not your place to tell someone who their hero should be. If you don’t like the topic or the ideas, find something else to read. Even if you don’t see the value in it, an entire community is rallying together and creating positivity out of a sad and devastating situation. Your brand of negative energy is the substance that keeps the world from moving forward to the fullest success of humankind.

        • Raven needs to shut his mouth
        • sre

          Raven–do you have anything you believe in or care about strongly? This is an incredibly talented young man who is not just a gifted football player but also a very decent human being. While so many college and pro athletes lead the headlines with despicable behavior-Marcus Lattimore has conducted himself humbly and with amazing class. I pity your jaded look at life.
          And a suggestion to you–if you have such a low opinion of sports and athletes–why are you even on this site?

        • jenjen

          Raven look your bitter but your right not a hero but he is a positive role model in a industry that are few far and in between give credit where credit is due. My husband is a firefighter and I still feel that Marcus is a good role model for children and adults today especially if they are involved in football like my sons.

    • http://www.facebook.com/deb.stender Deb Young Stender

      Raven, you obviously know NOTHING about this young man…maybe you should do a little research before making the disgusting comments above. You must have some serious issues in your life to make such nasty remarks about someone you know nothing about. I suggest that you take some time and do some soul searching to find what exactly it is in your character that makes you so evil and insensitive, because from your remarks I doubt there will EVER be ANYONE who would look up to you as a hero (or human). I also read your comment below regarding firefighters etc being “real” heros. I would like you to know my son is a firefighter and he too admires, respects and looks to Marcus as a hero.

      I have no doubt that if Marcus or any of his family members were to read your posts that they would immediately pray for you and your misguided judgemental soul.
      May God have mercy on YOU!!

    • Always a gamecock

      You must first understand who Marcus is before making such remarks. He is not just a football player. He is a 21 y/o kid who takes time out of his schedule to reach out to young kids to stay in school or get in church. He is a 21 y/o who has taken time to reach out to those who need inspiration in hopes they make it through the adversity. He is the one that goes to the children’s hospital to make some young child smile. See, Marcus is admired for who he is on the field but he is loved for who he is off the field.

  • Lin

    Nick, These are beautiful words that manage to capture so many hearts breaking for a young man who lives in our midst and inspires in all the ways you mentioned. Our hearts and prayers are with Marcus and his family.

  • BSimpson

    Marcus Lattimore is a role model for everyone, young and old. He has been blessed by God with so much talent and gives his thanks daily with his unfailing faith in not only God but Jesus Christ. He gives credit where credit is due, not only to his family, coaches, and fellow teammates but to God. I am proud to say he is a Gamecock. He puts a new meaning to the word “strong”. I know his family is proud of him as are all of Gamecock Nation. My prayers are with him and his family.

  • David

    Even as a Clemson fan, I HATE to see any player go down with any kind of injury, especially a career threatening injury. It’s horrible and no one wants to see that, even from a rival team. I hope Lattimore comes back (as they say he can, now) and makes it in the NFL. Willis McGahee had a similar injury, and he has been successful Lattimore has the heart to do it. Hope he does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.b.rogers1 David B. Rogers

    Raven is a nerd!

    • Griff2001

      David–don’t insult Nerds that way!!!! We don’t claim that idiotic jackass!

  • prayersfor21

    I had the great fortune of meeting Marcus in a department store a few weeks prior to the season starting this year. I can tell you, he was every bit as nice and sincere as I had heard. My girlfriend laughed at me because I lit up like a kid at Christmas because I got to share a handshake with this wonderful person. I have no idea what his future holds, but I know if there is a chance for him to play football again, I have no doubts. His faith in the Lord and his incredible hard work and determination will power him through this tragic time.

    Prayers for you and your family my fellow Gamecock!!!

  • jenjen

    Happy Birthday Marcus. I am honored to share my birthday with someone who is so loved and respected by his peers as u are. I am glad that my children who love to play and watch football have someone who they can look up to. You are a positive role model for so many people today and that is what we need. Once again Happy Birthday and get well soon we want to seeking you out on the field again. You, your family and your Gamecock brothers will be in my thoughts and prayers

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  • jhigh52575@aol.com

    Raven, Be careful of what you say, because the Lord works in mysteries ways.. Marcus didn’t ask for none of this,that’s the kind of young man that he his…. Marcus the Byrnes Rebles Nation and the Gamecock Nation will be praying for you and your family every day!!!!!! Get well soon >21

  • twinc/02005

    We pray you have a speedy and successful recovery. May God keep you and your family. Pray for emotional and physical strength

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