Welcome Back Full Capacity!
We're a little over 48 hours removed from what might've been the last game played at Founders Park this year and I've had some time to reflect on what was a memorable weekend, not only on the field watching our YardCocks but off the field sharing the first full capacity sporting event with our fellow Gamecocks since 2019.
Tuesday morning USC made the announcement that Founders Park would be 100% capacity for the weekend series against Tennessee. An announcement that was more than just allowing 4,000 more fans into the stadium, but a signaling that we're almost at the finish line (if we're not already there). This finish line is one that has felt like it might never come... from the NCAA Women's Tournament in 2020 (that saw us with the best chance of cutting down the nets and raising a National Championship banner) canceled to the eerie feeling of only 10-15k fans in Williams Brice Stadium this past fall watching our team limp to the finish line with a 2-8 record... it almost seemed as if with each passing sporting event you had to question if we'd ever be back. BUT BOY WERE WE BACK THIS WEEKEND! Thursday night saw the largest baseball crowd of the season (not sold out) but enough to give you a feeling that we were close, close enough that you could smell it! (No I'm not talking about that amazing TK Oriental chicken smell) BUT the sweet sweet smell of victory. Victory over an invisible enemy that has ravaged our country and world for the past year and prevented us from spending time with our friends and loved ones at arenas, ballparks and stadiums and every where in between.
While we might've lost the series 2-1, I want to focus on what was an all around win... and that was the fan, player and coaches experience for (3) days at the ballpark this past weekend. I had the chance to be there for two out of the three games and it was nothing short of spectacular. Thursday night I was right behind home plate sitting behind a couple of MLB scouts. I always enjoy sitting next to them whenever I get the opportunity because it reminds you of just how elite you have to be to make it to the BIG LEAGUES. Watching them track every last little detail including how quickly each player ran to 1st base regardless of where the ball was hit just reminded me how my dad always told me, they watch everything and I MEAN EVERYTHING!
While we didn't get the result on the field that we were hoping for Thursday night, Friday morning the sun did rise and brought on a new opportunity to get a W and meet a ton of newly made Gamecock friends! Earlier in the week I was able to coordinate tailgate plans with @Big_Eazzzzy and @sirbigspur843 from Twitter. These two guys I'd actually had the pleasure of meeting before, each for the 1st time at The Roost here in Charleston on separate occasions (GREAT Gamecock bar for those who ever come visit) while watching our YardCocks play. These wouldn't be the only guys that would make it to the tailgate as we had @taylordiveley (undefeated in beer pong coming into the tailgate, left with a blemish on his record) join us along with @CockyTexan77, @gamecockgirl71 and others. It was fun to roll out the tables and chairs, turn on the tunes and enjoy some Skrewball and other libations before a Friday night under the lights in Founders Park. We had the chance to talk with Coach Greg Adkins before the game at our tailgate which was truly a great experience. Listening to him talk about the camaraderie between the coaching staff and how much fun he's having here at Carolina was a breath of fresh air. He also made it known that it was going to be a busy June (one that all Gamecock fans are ready for) as recruiting and camp season picks up which was another sign that this coaching staff is READY TO GO!
Inside the game we experienced Founders Park at its finest. If I had to put a number on it I'd say we were pushing 90% capacity at the park with fans in seats. I was lucky enough to have my girlfriend accompany me this weekend to both games and she got to get the full firsthand experience of what a ROWDY Founders Park can look like on a Friday night. From the Wave, to the Rowdy Roosters heckling on every pitch, to the Brady Allen COCKBOMB that gave us a 3-2 lead that we wouldn't relinquish... it truly was a night to remember!
As we celebrated in the parking lot after the game (and maybe a little more in the Vista) I could only just sit back and be THANKFUL. Thankful for the opportunity to attend a FULL CAPACITY event with friends and loved ones while cheering on our COCKS! I know a lot of times people use the phrase "You don't know what you've got until it's gone", and I don't think that could sum up how these last 12 months have felt any better. You can bet I won't take one Gamecock game for granted moving forward until my time on Earth comes to an end.
I'm excited to see what our YardCocks can do in Hoover this week and it all starts tomorrow against the Tide. If we can reel off at least two wins in the SEC tourney, it might not've been our last game at Founders Park this year... AND if that's the case, I look forward to throwing a larger tailgate with many more new Gamecock friends in the coming weeks!
GO COCKS! SHAKE THIS PLACE!