USC students, fans make "Sandstorm" their unofficial anthem

The USC student section "sandstorms" at the 2009 Ole Miss game
The USC student section "sandstorms" at the 2009 Ole Miss game

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Southeastern Conference Championship game is nearly here, as the University of South Carolina Gamecocks have a chance at history in their rematch with undefeated Auburn.

One thing that gets both players and fans into the spirit is music, and there's one song in particular that really gets people going. That song is called "Sandstorm," and the decade-old tune is taking on a life of its own.

Even if you've never heard of the Finnish DJ Darude, you probably recognize his 1999 hit. "It starts out very slow," said USC Student Body President Ebbie Yazdani. "It allows everyone to collect their thoughts and understand this is gonna get crazy."

If you've been to a USC football game in the past two years, you know Sandstorm by heart -- whether you like it or not. "I remember the Ole Miss game last year, right at the turning point of the game, Sandstorm starts playing," Yazdani recounted. "Everybody was just so energized and it was really contagious. Gradually the momentum just swung our way and we just started playing better and better."
Since then, it's become something of a second fight song. Want proof? Hang out in downtown Columbia, and you'll hear the speakers that typically play the rooster crow and the fight song also play Sandstorm.

"It's been great, we've had no complaints," said Neel Keenan. "A few of my Clemson buddies don't like it."
But it's definitely getting a few smiles. At least one website describes "sand storming" as removing one's shirt, and spinning it around your head while jumping up and down.

On campus, student-turned-legend "Boombox Guy" says it's one of the most popular songs he's played during his six years as a campus celebrity. "Other songs I play, they'll get into it somewhat, but Sandstorm is the one that brings it to that pinnacle level," said the Boombox
Right now, the incessant beat seems to be linked to USC's recent success. They played it when they upset Ole Miss, Kentucky and Alabama, and when freshman phenom Marcus Lattimore made his big announcement. And that was in church!
Like it or not, Sandstorm is the current sound of success for the Gamecocks. We'll see if it follows them to Atlanta.

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