Why Saturday always will be college football day

or “Why I have No Time On Saturdays”

or “We Hail Thee Carolina”

I often get confused looks from people — mostly girls — when I decline offers to do things on Saturdays in the Fall. See, for 12 Saturdays (sometimes a Thursday) September through November, I do not have time to do much of anything because of one thing.

College Football.

Just imagine "2001: Space Odyssey." I do.

Most noteably Gamecock football.

I know not every school (and not every person at that school) quite understands the loyalty to this college tradition. Let me do my best to explain it.

There’s nothing quite like gameday. Particularly in the South (although to be fair, I don’t know what gameday is like elsewhere and will not judge it). It has often been called the largest cocktail party.

We go all out on food and drinks.

I will be honest, I didn’t quite get the fascination my first year either. I’ve been a Carolina fan my whole life because I’m a legacy. I vividly remember going to the Carolina-Vanderbilt game as a kid with my dad. And I remember mocking Clemson kids in my elementary school.(Yes, the Clemson-Carolina rivalry runs that deep).

My parents have pieces of the goal posts on the hearth at home from the big win with Lou Holtz when my brother rushed the field.

Carolina blood -- with my dad

But I didn’t really get college football. Maybe you just don’t unless you are actually a part of it.

Some point sophomore year that love came to me.

Sophomore year with my bestie, Mary.

It’s part of the scanning clothing stores for anything garnet and black — cute cocktail dresses included.

Garnet and Black!

It’s part burning up in that Southern heat in the middle of the afternoon to stand in the student section (there’s no SITTTING in the student section people!) and sing, cheer, yell, scream and jump your heart out.

There's no sitting in the student section.

It’s getting up at 8 a.m. and earlier on a Saturday in the still freezing, dewy morning to tailgate with friends (BTW, toothpaste and beer don’t mix).

8 a.m. tailgates.

It’s camaraderie.

Family

Tailgating with the husband

Devotion

Chick-fil-A bowl

Pride

Standing in the pouring rain to watch your team beat the Heisman hopeful.

Even in the rain

Soaking wet.

completely worth it

Freezing your fingers and toes to watch your team lose to the National Champions.

Freezing night games

Waiting in line at 7 a.m. for tickets.

We got tickets!

College football is heartbreaking, fun, exciting, exhilirating. It’s about connecting. Being proud of your alma mater and creating lifelong memories.

It is about being a little crazy and having a hell of time doing it.

No matter how busy you are or how hectic your schedule, on Saturdays, you’ll make time to check those scores, call/text/chat your friends. You’ll bleed garnet and black (never orange).  (I mean where else can you yell COCKS at the top of your lungs and NOT be the craziest person there?)

Sir Big Spur & Cocky

(Seriously that cock crow gives me goosebumps.)

Mostly, college football isn’t exactly sane. No one ever claimed it was. There are early mornings, late nights, traffic jams, expensive tickets and gear, fanatics and antics.

Sometimes camping out for tickets

But college football is indescribable. It’s a high.

I bleed garnet.

A couple of weeks ago at a conference for high school journalists, I chatted with them about where to go to college. Several kids asked me about going to smaller schools. I jokingly replied that those were great schools but they would miss out on the college football.

I kind of meant it.

Sure, football isn’t all there is in college, but my fondest memories are in Williams-Brice. My best friendships were forged there or out on the fairgrounds before kickoff.

My girlfriend!

You meet someone in classes, in clubs or activities, but you’ll become friends during those hours of tailgating, standing in the stadium and screaming along with “Hey, baby”

The "mic" guy and Cocky

I still remember the roar of the stadium when the Cocks beat the Gators Spurrier’s first season in Columbia. (This video gives me chills)

I remember the pulse, the electricity when 2001 starts and those players run out on the field. (This video actually does it justice. So exciting)

I immediately smile when I hear Sandstorm. (Here’s why!)

Or the fight song (C-A-R-O-L-I-N-A! GOOOOO COCKS!)

I get a little overwhelmed just thinking about some of those wins, the big ones — beating No. 5 Ole Miss, No. 1 Alabama, and the biggest of all — Clemson.

I can’t imagine college without football. I can’t imagine fall without college football. In fact when everyone else is dreaming of pumpkin spice lattes, I get chants stuck in my head at the first sign of autumn. (G-G-O! G-O! Come on Cocks let’s go!) (Hell, I watch the damn recruiting announcements in February.)

So yes, on Saturdays in the fall, I’ll take my time to remember that. To cheer on my team. My school. My alma mater.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta

Here’s a health Carolina. Forever to thee.

Oh and just for  fun, this has Gamecock written all over it.

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Comments
4 Responses to “Why Saturday always will be college football day”
  1. Felicia says:

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!

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