Here is but one of the articles detailing the incident, along with a little history of the beloved Rock and what makes it special to Tigers everywhere.
Social media is full of outraged and saddened fans, along with zealous suggestions for protecting "the Rock" going forward, and doomsday sayers already predicting that future generations will never have access to the Rock, that this classless act has ruined it for everyone.
And while I have no doubt that the perpetrator(s) of this pettiness will be caught (if the Clemson police caught me *allegedly* rolling through a stop sign while jamming to "Holding Out For a Hero" back in 1998, they will no doubt be all over this completely heinous crime), in the meantime we should consider a thing or two. To help make sense of the situation.
Clemson fans, take heart. The truth of the matter is, that while it is sickening and disappointing, there is good news. Clemson is more than just a rock. To be honest, the Rock is more than just a rock. You see, it isn't something that Clemson uses to celebrate a victory. It's not a mascot, and it doesn't represent any kind of bragging rights. The Rock is rubbed by players (and fans alike) who commit to giving 110%. And that, my friends, is a state of mind. It says that on the football field and beyond, win or lose, we will give it our all, put our hearts into it, and strive to be excellent.
I have gotten numerous messages and comments from rival college football fans about how their team is going to take a bigger piece of the rock when their team next comes to Clemson, put another dent in that rock, et cetera, et cetera. It's all in good fun, because everyone knows that rivalry is the heartbeat of college football. Passion from the fans is what it's all about. I shake my head and laugh a little, because I know that they don't truly understand.
But here's what Clemson fans need to remember, and other folks need to learn: no matter what the scoreboard says, no matter if there is a rock or no rock, we are proud of our University. We call ourselves the Clemson family, and there is a sense of community, of pride, of longstanding tradition, that cannot be touched by vandalism or diminished by antagonistic words or actions--this sense of pride and the love we have for Clemson is difficult to even describe to those who are not familiar with it.
So, in simplest terms, it's not about the Rock. I don't mean to diminish this despicable act, but it's about more than Howard's Rock. It's about something no one can really wrap their hands around, and it is this: we will keep right on loving Clemson, South Carolina. Bursting with pride that we are a part of Clemson University. Cheering on those Tigers every chance we get. We bleed orange, and you can't take any part of that away. GO TIGERS!