What a great day for Gamecock Nation! A National Championship!! Can you believe it? It’s still sinking in. I’ve waited 42 years for Carolina to be Number 1 in one of the three major sports programs. I can’t think of a school whose fans deserve this recognition more than Carolina fans. I’ll take this mountain top over all the valleys of the past anyday. Nothin’ could be finer than to be a graduate and fan of South Carolina. Go Cocks!
I don’t consider myself a betting man, but when it comes to Carolina vs. Clemson there are exceptions. One of my battle buddies, Kevin McClure, and I challenged each other a small wager over the results of the Carolina-Clemson baseball game last week in the World Series. Kevin is a diehard Clemson grad and I am a fanatical Carolina grad. As you can tell Kevin lost the bet. His only other option was to have his picture taken with my Gamecock flag draped over his shoulders. He choose the new dew. Kevin, thanks for being such a good sport. Thanks Gamecocks for keeping me from wearing Kevin’s gaudy orange Tiger shirt. Go Cocks! Beat UCLA tonight in the Championship Game.
I haven’t had a whole lot of warm and fuzzy moments since I first arrived in Afghanistan. However, yesterday I experienced one of those memorable events that will remain with me forever. We were visiting the Merabudin School to check on the construction of a new school building. As we walked through the dusty courtyard more than 300 to 400 children swarmed us. As I maneuvered through the crowd of children I shook the out stretched arms of the boys to shake their hands and I patted the little girls on the top of their covered heads. After patting one little girl (I would say she was probably 5 or 6 years old) on the head, she grabbed my hand and kissed the top of it. It was the sweetest thing that has happened to me since I’ve been here. It was a special moment. Watching all of this from afar was a reporter who was embedded with us for the day. She looked at me and said, “I can’t believe what I’m seeing. You guys are like Rock Stars!” She’s right. The kids absolutely love us. I pray they always will.
Bread is one of the core staples for the Afghan people. It is the center piece of every meal. It is quite tasty if I do say so myself. For the past month I have watched the wheat fields of Kabul grow in great abundance. These fields represent meals for families and prosperity for shopkeepers and farmers. For the Afghan people it is their own little field of dreams.
Today we went out on a foot patrol on one of the hottest days of the year to deliver school supplies to a school in a nearby village. Everyday we continue to help more and more Afghan children thanks in part to all the generous donations from back home. Our packs overfloweth. Keep it coming!!!!
I might be more than 7,500 miles from home, but nothing can keep me from following my beloved Gamecocks, not even war. Today I joined several other faithful followers of USC and Clemson early this morning to watch the two rivals play in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Even though we had to get up at 5:00 a.m. (Saturday morning) to watch the 9:00 p.m. (Friday night) game, it was worth it. The Gamecocks rolled to a 5 to 1 victory thanks to impressive pitching and defense. Tonight the Cocks and Tigers will square off again for a final match to see who will move on to the championship round against either UCLA or TCU. Go Cocks!
I’m sure you’ve heard the news about President Obama relieving U.S. Forces Afghanistan Commander Stanley McChrystal of his duties yesterday. I believe the President did the right thing. But the whole affair is so unfortunate. How could such an intelligent Commander allow he and his staff to get so “loose” with a reporter — a reporter with Rolling Stone? Rule number one in public affairs is everything is “on the record.” There is no such thing as “off the record.” Believe me, I’ve learned learned some hard lessons on this topic. General McChrystal was a competent leader with a plan for success. He was right in the middle of trying to turn this war around. He will never get that opportunity. Instead, his boss, General David Patraeus will come in and take over. The troops love Patraeus. He is calm and collected. A General with a proven track record of success (Iraq Surge). I look forward to serving under his command. Let’s roll!