AN OPEN LETTER TO LSU FROM A GAMECOCK OCT 11 2015 by Lauren Beasley, Football Editor Dear LSU, As a Gamecock fan, I had no expectations of winning against the Tigers this season, especially considering the last win South Carolina had was before I was even in high school. But as a Columbia resident, what I really did not expect was the overwhelming hospitality that LSU and the city of Baton Rouge has shown to the state of South Carolina in a time of need. I live in an area of Columbia, SC that was greatly affected by the flood water. Last weekend, I woke up to sirens and heavy rain, and as I looked outside to see what was going on, I saw the lights from emergency vehicles reflecting off the water that surrounded my house. I watched emergency crews help my neighbors out of their homes with a boat in waist deep water. I paced the floor all morning watching the water creep closer to the door. Luckily the water never came into my house or damaged my car, but many of the people in my neighborhood were not as fortunate. Some were taken to shelters, while the rest of us were stuck in our homes with street closures all around us, watching the horrific pictures of local areas on the news. I stayed glued to the TV all day, watching swift water rescues as dam after dam gave way. My phone was inundated with phone calls, texts, and messages wanting to know two things: Was I okay? And what about the game? I had no answer for the latter, but as the days passed the water receded and clean-up began, and I started to wonder the same thing. As soon as I found out that Williams-Brice Stadium and surrounding area was untouched by the flood, I was hopeful that we may be able to have the game at home. All it took was a walk down my own street to change my mind. My own neighbors were dragging carpet and pieces of sheetrock out on the street, piling it up next to furniture and mattresses. Everything that had been in their house, all of what they own, in piles next to cars with the open doors and hoods. As firetrucks, police, and the Red Cross became regular visitors, I realized that there was no way the game could be played in Columbia. The emergency crews were working multiple shifts, stretching themselves thin, trying to help an entire population. I could see it in their eyes—the want to be everywhere at one time while being concerned for their own families and friends. The rain may have stopped, but it was impossible to take the manpower away from people who desperately needed help to direct traffic and control a crowd for a football game. Not to mention all of the roads that were completely washed out and closed, and there were still dams in danger of breaking. As much as I wanted the game to take place, to have something to cheer for, it just wasn’t feasible. As soon as it was announced that the game would be moved to Baton Rouge, where LSU would host South Carolina, I was immediately assured that we would be well taken care of. If anyone in the world of college football knows about southern hospitality in a time of storm-related crisis, it was the state of Louisiana. I was actually in New Orleans just last year, a trip that absolutely changed my life, simply by putting my petty issues in perspective when I heard personal stories about loss that you didn’t hear on CNN. The way that New Orleans and the surrounding areas rallied together to support one another, to rebuild, and renew faith was exactly what South Carolina was doing now.