A few months ago during one of the coldest weeks of the winter we talked about the coldest sporting events we've ever been to. This week the temperature in the city of Columbia has hit triple digits every day since Tuesday and next week isn't looking any better, so let's just go ahead and talk about the unbearable heat. What is the hottest sporting event you've ever been to?
Charlotte Knights game the summer of 2012, right before I started at Carolina. My buddies and I had the brilliant idea of going to a Knights (AAA baseball) game, in the middle of July, on a Saturday with a 1:00 first pitch. It was like 102 degrees that day with a humidity % around the mid-90s. The concession stand nearly ran out of water and the place was a ghost town by the 7th inning because of the heat. Also, they hadn't built the new stadium in Charlotte yet, so we were watching the game in the old rundown facility in Fort Mill, SC that the Knights used to play in. When we left we all looked like lobsters. Never. Again.
Summer sporting events in the south usually involves baseball and I'm going with one of the hottest days that I can recall back in early 2000's. I don't remember the exact date, but it was the Atlanta Braves vs Boston Red Sox. We had some friends that were huge Sox fans and so we went to a day game...middle of July...hot as Hades...and I think it was a Saturday. We had great seats, right near dugout, but that didn't matter by the 3rd inning. We were hot, sweaty, thirsty and tired. Drinking a beer was nearly impossible. Anyways, I remember wearing a short-sleeve button shirt, and taking it off and draping it over my head. We also bought 100 bucks worth of water and dumped it on our heads. By the 7th inning, we weren't stretching nor singing take me out to the old ball game. No. Nu-uh. We were nuked and we left! Walking from The Ted, I felt like Clark Griswold from the movie Vacation. You know the scene where he is staggering across the desert with his shorts over his head? Yeah, that was me zigzagging through parking lots trying find the car.
I don't know if it was the hottest sporting event I've ever been to temperature-wise, but the 2010 South Carolina-Georgia football game was definitely the sporting event where the heat affected me the most. It was a noon kickoff and I don't remember exactly how hot it was in terms of specific temperature, but it was toasty. It's the only time in my life I've ever felt like I might faint, and I distinctly remember having to sit down more than once because I was afraid I was going to fall over and cause a domino effect in the student section. While that was sort of unpleasant, Marcus Lattimore dominating and the Gamecocks coming away with a win made things much better.
I've played in a lot of golf tournaments in the middle of summer wearing pants and walking, so the threshold for me to experience misery due to heat at a sporting event is relatively high. However, there is one example that pops into my head almost immediately: Wofford vs. Clemson in 2011. Temperatures were well above 90 degrees at kickoff, and Memorial Stadium is just a wretched place to watch football during mid-afternoon when it's sunny and excruciatingly hot outside. Thus, my parents and my wife left the game and retired to the tailgate spot that we had with numerous other Wofford supporters, as I sat with another alumnus friend and drank contraband in the metal bleachers. I got blisters on my neck, Clemson didn't deserve to win that game, and I will never forget how not-fun it is to watch football in early September in Pickens county.
I think it's South Carolina-ECU 2012 for me. A noon kickoff in early September is never fun, but I remember this one as being especially brutal. This is the only game I ever left early as a student. With 8 minutes left in the 4th the other two girls in our group told the guys that they needed to leave or they would pass out. I have strong feelings about leaving games early so I sorta put up a fight about it, but I was secretly kinda relieved when they made me leave with them. We all went to someone's house and spent the rest of the afternoon laying around drinking water and complaining about our headaches.