Fantabulous Friday: “It’s sweet.”

March Madness continues, and as the Lady Gamecocks advance to the "Sweet 16," one of the team's players gives us a lesson  in inspiration and motivation.

March Madness continues, and as the Lady Gamecocks advance to the “Sweet 16,” one of the team’s players gives us
a lesson
in inspiration and motivation.


Sometimes the best advice you can get is the motivation that you give yourself.

When our Lady Gamecocks played against Oregon State University, sophomore guard Tiffany Mitchell talked to herself throughout the second half. No one needed to motivate this determined player. She was talking her way through to a win.

In an article in The State newspaper, Tiffany said, ” … you can see me talking to myself.” Her positive thoughts ranged from “Stay in it Tiff” to “Concentrate. Focus.”

It’s that concentration and determination that have helped propel the 19-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., to the national spotlight. She is one of four finalists for the Dawn Staley Award, which will be presented by The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia in April. She was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, only the second sophomore in the SEC’s history to earn the Player of the Year honors.

We are sending kudos to Tiffany for her focus and concentration, which should be an inspiration for all of us. I am telling my Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, to write these words in big letters so that she can finish Book 5 in the “Shandon’s Ivy League” Mystery Series before the end of the summer.

We can all take a page out of Tiffany’s book! She is an inspiration to us all.

The Lady Gamecocks will play the University of North Carolina on Sunday.

“It’s very sweet,” Mitchell said about advancing to play another game in the NCAA basketball championship.

Sweet, indeed, to be in the “Sweet 16.”

Yet, we know that the “sweet” part of the team’s success didn’t come without a great deal of “sweat.” And no one gets to the “Sweet 16” without a great team effort by all players and coaches.

Congratulations to all of the young women and men who have advanced to the NCAA championship games.

And, Go Gamecocks!

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Fantabulous Friday: Make way for “Madness”!


Only if you have been living in a cave would you not realize that we are in the time zone known as “March Madness.” The phrase does not refer to activities that might occur when thousands of college students are released from their institutions of higher learning for spring break, which also takes place in March for many schools. That is a different type of madness.

March Madness, of course, refers to the annual NCAA college basketball championship games, with most of those games occurring in March. The frenzy now has spilled over into April. The final four teams will play April 5, and the championship game occurs April 7.

My Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, and I decided to go back to the “roots” of basketball to determine how the word “basketball” became part of our language. The game of basketball began in 1891. James A. Naismith of the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Mass., created the concept of the game, which is played by two teams of players on a rectangular court with a raised “basket” or “goal” at each end.

We won’t bore you with the rules and other particulars of the sport, but the game got its name because Mr. Naismith used two, half-bushel peach baskets for the first game — nets and hoops were still unknown.

Basket + ball = BASKETBALL! The madness came later.

The Editorial Assistant and I usually don’t care much about the hoopla of the season.

But this year, we are proud.

Our University of South Carolina Lady Gamecocks are in the women’s tournament and will play their first game on Sunday, March 23. We applaud their success and that of the other teams playing in these games.

Let the madness begin!

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Fantabulous Friday: Football Is Here!


You would have to be living on another planet not to realize the significance of this weekend!

It’s time for college football — well, and other football, too, we think!

My Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, and I have prepared our University of South Carolina Gamecock outfits, and I am fortunate to have a wonderful USC collar, leash and a party collar made of ribbons in the appropriate colors. I even have a “Carolina Girl” T-shirt.

We love this quote about football by comedienne Phyllis Diller and are sharing it with our friends:

“The reason women don’t play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public.”

Of course, we are well aware that many girls and young women play soccer, which is considered football in some countries. And, yes, girls are cheerleaders, and they wear certain coordinating outfits.

But beyond a certain age, all of us know that given a choice 11 ladies would NOT wear the same outfit to an event! Go, football fashion!

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Terrific Tuesday: For the love of reading!

USC President Harris Pastides and his wife, Patricia Moore-Pastides, are shown with student volunteers for the Cocky's Reading Express program in South Carolina.

USC President Harris Pastides and his wife, Patricia Moore-Pastides, are shown with student volunteers for the Cocky’s Reading Express program in South Carolina.

It’s no secret. We love to read!

Reading is at the heart of everything that we do, and every child should love to read. That is why on this “Terrific Tuesday,” we applaud Cocky’s Reading Express, a literacy program launched by the University of South Carolina’s student government in 2005.

Cocky is USC’s award-winning mascot who represents the University’s academic and athletic programs. Loved by children and adults alike, Cocky travels with USC student volunteers to visit elementary schools, primarily those in underserved public school districts. During their visits, USC students read to children in grades 4K through second grade, and Cocky helps the children understand the importance of lifelong reading.

Each child is given a book to keep as a reminder of Cocky and the students’ visit and their promise to Cocky that he or she will read every day. How great is this!

An immediate success, the program became a joint collaboration with USC’s School of Library and Information Science and is now housed at the S.C. Center for Children’s Books and Literacy.

Just how successful has this program been? More than 715 students have participated in Cocky’s Reading Express, which has traveled to all of South Carolina’s 46 counties. To date, more than 56,300 books have been distributed at over 300 events. Grants from BP America, Bi-Lo, Verizon, CCCF, the Sunshine House, SCBT and the Barbara Bush Family Literacy Foundation have supported  this outstanding program.

And just so you’ll know, I have had the opportunity to mingle with Cocky and student volunteers at the annual Read-In at the South Carolina Statehouse! What a great honor for me!

Visit to learn more about Cocky’s Reading Express!

We appreciate everyone who is part of this important outreach program that is encouraging the same love of reading that Mom Karen and I have!

Why do you love to read? And who has helped you learn to read and appreciate books?

And don’t forget: I am honoring a student, teacher, school, community organization, business or other individuals who have excelled in promoting the love of reading, writing and literacy. Send your nominations to, and Mom Karen will write you back!

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Wordy Wednesday: Gamecock

The University of South Carolina mascot is the Gamecock, a nickname also given to Gen. Thomas Sumter.

The University of South Carolina mascot is the Gamecock, a name given to Gen. Thomas Sumter, a Revolutionary War hero from South Carolina.


A gamecock is not just any bird. Saying so would be similar to a person saying that a poodle or any other canine is “just a dog.” Perish the thought!

Gamecocks are known to have spirit and a determination to win at all costs. Some people use gamecocks for fighting, but that’s too terrible to discuss here.

In light of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks’ win over the Michigan Wolverines in the Outback Bowl, we are celebrating the spirit of victory. But did you also know that the word “gamecock” has a place in history? Gen. Thomas Sumter of South Carolina earned the nickname during the American Revolution in his determination to conquer the British forces in our state.

Go Gamecocks! We love your spirit!

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