Fans of any sport pride themselves of having total recall of the major events in their team's history. The feeling of euphoria that swept over Williams-Brice as the fans did an ironic Gator chomp in 2005, the doink! sound that Andrew Baggett's field goal attempt made in double overtime. The sight of whatever was left of Tajh Boyd after Jadeveon Clowney was done with him.
We want to be able to say we've seen it all. But almost everyone has some gaps in their experience -- moments where life got in the way of your ability to enjoy (or suffer through) every single moment of Gamecock sports.
Sometimes its a wedding that you just couldn't get out of. Maybe you thought the Gamecocks were going to get obliterated by their opponent and decided to devote your Saturday to activities that you predicted would be more enjoyable. And every now and then South Carolina turns in a performance so miserable that you decide to ride your intense first-half alcohol consumption into a midday nap.
In the first GABA Q&A we talked about our very best days as fans. Today we'll talk about a time we were at our lowest.
What is the most the most unfortunate/embarrassing reason you've missed a South Carolina sporting event you could have otherwise attended (or otherwise witnessed)? The two independent variables here are the importance of the game missed and the ridiculousness of the reason you couldn't attend.
JORGE DE LOS GALLOS:
More than any one game, I'm generally embarrassed by all the games I miss, which is to say there are a lot of them because I'm a bad fan. Sorry, y'all-I'm a slave to armchair/fridge proximity! But beyond my sorry dedication to live sports, there's no standalone ridiculous reason I can recall that precluded my attending an actual game. However, when I think of "unfortunate" and "missing a game", my mind goes to the 2010 Kentucky debacle. Some friend of my then-girlfriend's had the nerve to schedule her stupid idiot wedding that Saturday. "Meeehhhr, I went to a small private school and am thereby immune to the sanctity of fall Saturdays in the South, meeehhhr!" But hey, Kentucky wasn't great, and we'd just dominated Alabama at home. Guess I can miss this SUREFIRE WIN and suffer through the ceremony before drinking more whiskey gingers than good sense would dictate.
The ceremony let out and Carolina was cruising at halftime. The worst part of the night, so far, was the realization that the $150 rental tux my girlfriend assured me was necessary was, evidently, not necessary. Oh well! That's $150 worth of booze and highfalutin southern fingerfoods I'll have to pound. Then, as we all know, came the nosedive. Kentucky won. A Georgia fan celebrated in my face. At some point I was reminded that, since it was the lady's friend, I was the designated driver. So there I was, sitting alone and sober at a table, wearing a stupid $150 rental tux, haunted by a game I didn't see a moment of while everyone else Cupid Shuffled as if their world hadn't just gone to shit.
Ugh. Screw that game.
I attended 14 of our 21 losses during the 0-21 streak. I was young, and my family loved Carolina football, but that's a lot of suffering during a time where you really do care a great deal about athletics, because you're too young to drink and do drugs (not just legally, but easily), and dating is a thing that is starting to happen, but hasn't really gotten off the ground just yet.
So how did I spend our first win? After 21 losses in a row, where was I when we finally beat New Mexico State in Williams-Brice Stadium?
At a Dave Matthews Band concert.
I was 15 years old, and we all make mistakes. Please, never tell anyone.
I think I've shared this in the comments here before, but it remains my biggest sports-related regret from college: I missed the 2010 basketball game where we upset #1 Kentucky. I missed it for the stupidest reason too, I just forgot to request a ticket. So I watched from a crappy dorm room with two of my friends as thousands of our fellow students got to storm the court and celebrate ecstatically.
I should qualify this by saying that of course I was still delighted by the win and we ran around screaming and celebrating too. But to this day I am furious with myself for missing the one court/field storming opportunity I had as a student and for not being in the Colonial Life Arena for the best moment the basketball program had during my 4 years there.
Mine's the same as Kaci's except I had requested - and received - a ticket to the game, but I cancelled it because none of my friends were planning to go and the thought of going to watch USC presumably get crushed by the No. 1 team in the country by myself was sort of unappealing.
Then, of course, USC didn't get crushed by the No. 1 team in the country, and I celebrated solo at my apartment. I also found out later that some friends of mine had gotten tickets at the last minute and ended up going to the game, storming the court, and making it into the crowd shots that were all over ESPN.
But I'm not bitter or anything.
I was in Florida for my cousin's wedding the Saturday of the 2007 Vanderbilt game. Several of my family members are Auburn fans. Auburn was playing LSU that evening in the late slot, and I distinctly remember saying that morning amidst my family's laments of having to miss the beginning of Auburn-LSU game for the wedding reception, "At least I don't have to worry about the outcome of the ‘Dores-Gamecocks game!" Alas, thus began my experience of the brutal end to that season.
OK, so I have two.
The first is the 2005 Kentucky basketball game. The one that we won 73-61 at home when the Wildcats were ranked No. 1. It was a great game and a big win that, at the time, seemed like it could spark a late-season run and get Dave Odom's team to the Big Dance. But like a lot of Dave Odom teams, this one faltered down the stretch -- unless you consider the NIT "the stretch." But from going to Carolina when I did, I grew hella attached to players like Brandon Wallace, Carolos Powell, Tre Kelly, Renaldo Balkman, and Tarence Kinsey. Aside from the aforementioned NIT runs, this was probably the most exciting single-game achievement of their careers, and they celebrated it with the fans who rushed the court after the final buzzer.
I didn't go. I had to give a speech the next day in the Communications class that I shared with Blake Mitchell and Señor De Los Gallos. I used to be horrified of giving speeches. Now I prattle on at length on a weeklyish podcast, but at the time this seemed like an occasion that required me to skip a basketball game. This was my one opportunity to storm any manner of playing surface. And I blew it.
The second one was also in 2005 but wasn't a particularly memorable game. South Carolina lost to Georgia 17-15 in a contest characteristic of the losses to the Bulldogs in the early- and mid-2000s. A missed first quarter extra point by Josh Brown forced the Gamecocks attempt (and fail) a two-point conversion in the final minutes of the game. Ho, hum.
It's the reason that I didn't watch the game that's the doozy. I went to a Coldplay concert in Charlotte. (Bless ChickenHoops for softening this blow.)
I could lie and say that I was there to see the opening act, Rilo Kiley. I did, after all, go on to become such a big fan of theirs that I named my dog after them about a year and a half later. But no, this was at the tail end of Coldplay's reign as one of my favorite bands.
I was 18 years old, and we all make mistakes. Please, never tell anyone.
Now it's your turn! Leave a comment sharing the worst reason you missed a South Carolina game. Don't be shy. No crime can be worse than those that ChickenHoops and I confessed to.