“Southeastern Conference football is not a game, but a passion passed on through generations. You don't choose your favorite team, you're born into it.”
That’s the theme in a recent SEC Network television commercial, “Babies,” which was appropriately released on the network’s first birthday on August 14. For one group of Gamecock fans featured in the ad, it was also the perfect setting for a little family history as 89-year-old Flora Brown was captured holding her great granddaughter, Rowan Brown, for the first time. (Feel free to check out the moment at the 10 seconds mark of the commercial.)
“We did that part in just one take,” Flora said. “I didn’t want to give her back, that’s for sure.”
“I was handing her to my grandmother, and Rowan was fussing and carrying on,” said Stephanie Brown, Rowan’s mother. “She held her and rocked her, and Rowan immediately got quiet. My grandmother looked over to one of the camera men and said ‘I’ve still got it.’ I think she sat there with her for about an hour after that. Just seeing the joy on her face was the best part.”
The commercial has a call-to-action for fans to show off their babies in clothes from SEC schools. Stephanie and Rowan live in Summerville, but Flora lives in Pickens, South Carolina. Rowan is now nine months old, but she was only two weeks old when the commercial was shot in Atlanta. Rowan was “discovered” thanks to social media. Stephanie’s father, Steven, who had been involved in the Atlanta Gamecock Club for many years, posted photos online which caught someone’s eye and the rest is history.
“It’s in our blood, so to be asked to be part of it is amazing,” Stephanie said. “It was such an exciting moment. We haven’t had any new babies in our family in a long time. So it was a momentous occasion. We’re so thankful to have that moment captured so we can watch it any time we want. We’re all huge Gamecock fans. My mom and dad both went to school there as well as my grandfather. Of course I had all the newborn stuff with Gamecock logos for Rowan when she was born. My grandmother was very excited.”
You don’t have an option. Not in my family anyway. That’s how you’re raised; you bleed garnet and blackStephanie Brown
“I was so flattered,” Flora said. “I’ve been a Gamecock fan for a long time. My husband finished at South Carolina in 1949, and my son finished in ’79. I have a granddaughter who is a freshman now.”
Stephanie said she watched the ad nearly 30 times when it debuted, and she has no problem agreeing with the theme about being an SEC fan for life.
“That is so very true,” Stephanie said. “You don’t have an option. Not in my family anyway. That’s how you’re raised; you bleed garnet and black.”
She added that it won’t be long before Rowan is making her first trip inside Williams-Brice Stadium.
“I think I went to my first game when I was one or two years old,” Stephanie said. “So it will probably be the same for her.”
The Browns are indeed long-time supporters of South Carolina as Flora’s brother, Chapman, is 100 years old, so she is looking forward to getting to see Rowan grow up to cheer for the Gamecocks in the years to come. Meanwhile, Flora is enjoying her new-found “fame” on television.
“Am I a celebrity now,” Flora mused. “Yes. I guess I will be now. I have four people on my road who are Carolina fans. We all hang out our flags. We’re all very excited.”