Stephen Garcia had quite a few highs and lows while serving as the quarterback for the South Carolina Gamecocks so it isn't exactly surprising that the reaction from those affected is a bit conflicted regarding the news that Garcia was dismissed from the South Carolina football program. After all, it's always difficult to see a talented player lose an on-field opportunity due to off-field issues.
For me Garcia was captivating for the myth he became. He was quintessentially Gamecock. His boundless potential always seemed to be stalled by some imperceptible impediment. His highs were Everestian, but his lows were Marianastian. He was alternatingly bold and humbled. He was heroic, and he was tragic.
In Garcia I saw someone who could have achieved everything that my mind's eye was convinced he would do. He should have played Perseus to my Zeus, but he fancied himself an Achilles. Ultimately, we had to let him go.
Over at Team Speed Kills, a blog covering the SEC for SB Nation, they also look back at Garcia's time as a Gamecock with conflicting thoughts.
Which brings us back to the real reason for Spurrier's outburst, on some level: Stephen Garcia. And a whole range of emotions that I really don't know what to do with.
On the one hand, it's kind of a relief. There's a certain amount of mental energy that you expend cheering for a guy like Garcia -- accepting his mistakes both on and off the field, in part because you know that there is likely a great moment just around the corner.
But it's also so incredibly sad to see someone with so much talent basically throw it away. People forget just how earth-shattering it was for a highly touted recruit from Florida to come to South Carolina to play college football. This was before Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore and Jadeveon Clowney. Those kinds of players from inside South Carolina didn't come to Columbia, let alone a guy from another state with several high-profile BCS schools inside its borders.
And I wonder if the hype that accompanied that in some way helped to create Stephen Garcia, contributed to the sense of invincibility that was his undoing both on and off the field. Both that invincibility, or fearlessness if you prefer, was part of what made Garcia so great and so unforgettable.
In the end, the time Garcia spent in college football will be remembered. Whether it's the good or bad parts remembered, though, is going to be dependent on the person.