Girardeau honored as USC Legendary Fan | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | November 30, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: November 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm
Photos courtesy of Allen Sharpe, USC Sports
By CINDY CROSBY
At 83, Sheldon Girardeau was honored as the University of South Carolina’s Legendary Fan of the Game during Saturday evening’s pregame ceremonies of the Palmetto Bowl held at William’s Brice Stadium in Columbia.
A member of the Gamecock Club for 51-years, Girardeau was fitted with a custom blazer on Saturday evening honoring him as a “Legendary Gamecock Fan.” He was presented a plaque naming him as “2017 Legendary Fan of the Game” in recognition of his lifelong commitment and dedicated support of the University of South Carolina Athletics Program.
With their first meeting in 1896, the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is the second longest rivalry in Division I college football — and the longest uninterrupted rivalry in the South. Super fan Girardeau may very well be the next longest standing football tradition in the matchup, as he has now attended 72 consecutive contests in the 115-year rivalry.
“I really enjoyed myself,” said Girardeau. “It was a great honor to receive this recognition. It brought back a lot of memories from over the years. My father, Ted, took me to my first Carolina game in 1945 when I was 11 years old. He played center there from 1911-13.”
Girardeau also wore the garnet and black uniform. Turning away offers from legendary coach Frank Howard to play at Clemson and at Georgia Tech, the 6’5” wide receiver knew his heart belonged to Carolina. After playing his freshman year (1952-53) there, he transferred to Presbyterian College where he finished his career playing both basketball and football.
“My father’s generation was raised on a diet of loyalty,” said his son, Gerry Girardeau. “Loyalty to the core principle of our right to live in hope of next year and that our faith characterized being loyal, true and long-suffering fans, as frustrating as that may be. It is easy to be a fan of a winning team, so let us not despair for we believe we are truly rooting for the winning championship.”
In recent years, there have been fewer trips to Columbia and fewer road games for Girardeau. But his passion and support for athletics at the University of South Carolina remains steadfast and unwavering — evidenced in his sideline conversations with Ray Tanner, Mark Sanford, Shi Smith and Deebo Samuel on Saturday evening.
Girardeau himself said it best, “Everything was perfect but the outcome of the game — but there is always another one down the road.”
Indeed, No. 73 for Sheldon Girardeau is just 364 days away.