Feb. 8, 2017
By Brad Muller | More Features
Victoria Williams is thrilled to begin her senior season on the softball diamond for South Carolina. So are her parents, even if they have to wear the colors of the family rival.
“My mom, dad, sister, sister’s husband, and my uncle all went to Clemson,” Williams said. “So I’m the black sheep of the family. I wanted to play in the SEC, and staying in-state was just a bonus because we’ve got such a great school here.”
Raised in Williamston, S.C. in the Upstate, she is now a ‘dyed in the wool’ Gamecock, and her family is proud to see her in the garnet and black, even if it stings just a little bit.
“It was not hard for me to put the garnet and black on because I just loved the school so much, and I loved the program,” Williams said. “For my dad, it was a different story. He’ll only wear something with the interlocking ‘SC’ (logo used for baseball and softball). He won’t wear anything with the Block C logo. It was definitely harder for my parents than it was for me.”
Williams has made the most of her time at South Carolina as a regular starter at the designated player position. She embodies the student-athlete image as well, earning spots on the SEC Academic Honor Roll and as an NFCA Scholar-Athlete every year at South Carolina. Williams and her family agree that they’re glad she chose to stay close to home when other schools showed interest.
“This was my top choice from the beginning,” Williams said. “It was a no-brainer for me.”
“I’m fully converted now,” Williams added with a laugh. “There’s no orange left in me.”
That creates a fun atmosphere when she returns home for Thanksgiving break and watches the South Carolina versus Clemson football game with her family.
“My mom sometimes has to split my dad and me up,” Williams said. “We’re both really competitive, so we’re not allowed to watch it in the same room of the house. It’s intense, but we know not to egg each other on. We just stay clear of each other on game day.”
You can wear whatever colors you want to wear, but I’ll draw the line at smack talk. Once that starts, I’ll shut it down.
All fun aside, Williams will finish her degree in elementary education this December and will do her student teaching in the fall. She grew up around the field of education as her mother, Eunice, is a long-time elementary school principal who now works at Brockman Elementary School in Columbia.
“Once I got into school, and I saw the impact I could have on kids, especially kids in impoverished areas, I knew this was it,” Williams said. “I saw a connection I could have with kids. I want to see what kind of difference I can make in their lives and help propel them into a successful life.”
Having already done some of the required student teaching, Williams also noted that she genuinely loves being around children.
“They’re hilarious,” Williams said. “They say the first thing that comes to their mind. You go in every day, and you don’t know what you’re going to get. I love it.
“I think the hardest part will be learning to say ‘no.’ I’m one of those people who likes take on a lot of extracurricular activities, and I’ll want to be a part of all the student-activities in their community. In this profession, I know you have to keep yourself energized and can’t get weary. So if my plate is too full, I’ll have to learn to say ‘no’ when asked to take on a lot of those things.”
Down the road, Williams has aspirations of getting into education administration. For now, she would like to stay in South Carolina to teach, and she knows the rivalry will live on with the youngsters in her classroom.
“I’m going to take the approach my mom took with my dad and me,” Williams said. “You can support whomever you want to support. You can wear whatever colors you want to wear, but I’ll draw the line at smack talk. Once that starts, I’ll shut it down.”
In the meantime, while Williams is a Gamecock for life, she’s not giving up on the idea of influencing her family.
“On my official visit, my dad was doing ‘Sandstorm’ at the football game,” Williams said. “My mom slapped him. It’s supposed to be a family secret, but he laughs about it.”
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