Sports writer Paige Davoren asked South Carolina students about the impact sports have made on them. Here are their responses:
Q: When/why did you begin watching or playing sports?
A: "My first sport that I played was hockey. I'm from Boston, so that was just commonplace for everyone to do. I honestly think while I was learning how to to walk, I was learning how to skate, as soon as I could stand," fourth-year accounting student Alex St. Pierre said.
A: "I started playing soccer around [age] four, but I didn't start watching it until high school, but then I also played basketball and watched that since I was a child, football too. I didn't play it, but I just liked watching it," first-year mechanical engineering student Lawrence Fernandez said.
Q: What do sports mean to you?
A: "They were literally everything, that's what I did growing up. I was the sports guy in high school. Thought I was going to be playing in college, thought I was going to be playing college football," third-year international business and finance student JD Locke said.
A: "I think it brings people together," first-year psychology student Jasmine Kearse said.
Q: Why should people watch or play sports?
A: "It's fun, it's good exercise. Even if it's not super competitive, you're still out doing something and staying active, which is always important," Locke said.
A: "I think it teaches you how to cope with failure. I think a lot of times in life, your first exposure to losing and failure is through sports and I think without that, some people don't know how to handle the devastation of not succeeding," St. Pierre said.
Q: Why do you think sports are important?
A: "Teamwork was really big to learn, and then I was a captain for my soccer team for five years. So just being the captain with a really good team, there was a lot of pressure. So I guess I learned a lot about leadership," Locke said.
A: To build leadership, teamwork, skills, stuff like that," Fernandez said.
Q: How do you think sports influence people's daily lives?
A: "As a way to have a topic of conversation. Whether or not you're rooting for the same team, even the banter back in forth with strangers that you would have in terms of which team is the best teaches you argumentative skills ... It builds the basic social necessities that people need to be successful," St. Pierre said.
Q: What sport do you believe is the most uniting?
A: "I think football is, because a lot of Americans like watching that sport," Fernandez said.
Q: Can you talk about the influence of South Carolina athletics on the Gamecock community?
A: "Football definitely has a big influence on our community. Just watching the games, hanging out with friends is something that we're known for ... It's cool to see how many people come together just to watch one sport," Fernandez said.