Choosing to travel to an away football game can be a major commitment. Whether it is paying for tickets, driving for hours on end or finding a nearby hotel, it is not something done without hesitation.
For some, though, this is an absolute no-brainer and the experience of a lifetime. Last Saturday, The Daily Gamecock interviewed eight South Carolina football fans who made the trip to Athens, Georgia, as the Gamecocks faced the Georgia Bulldogs.
Patrick McDougall, a fourth-year international business and finance student, said he has always wanted to go on an SEC road trip.
"I think Georgia has a great environment. [South Carolina] beat them two years ago, and I wasn't there, so I kick myself for that everyday," he said. "Now, I want to be here to, hopefully, see that happen again tonight. We'll see. Fingers crossed."
McDougall's friend, fourth-year public health student Courtney Lubaczewski, was in agreement.
"I've never been to an away game, so I thought senior year was the time, and Georgia would be a fun environment to be in for a game," Lubaczewski said.
From the eight fans interviewed, seven were either current or former students at South Carolina. One of those alumni was 2018 graduate Maria Tellez, who has been raised in the Gamecock fandom.
"I grew up in South Carolina," Tellez said. "Everyone around me loved the Gamecocks, so it was kind of born into me."
Leading up to the game, available seating on mobile-focused ticketing platforms such as SeatGeek and StubHub were relatively expensive, as the cheapest-priced tickets were sitting around $100.
Seeing those prices and not wanting to pay to see a game in which nothing is guaranteed for South Carolina, there were a plethora of fans that were specifically in town to tailgate and enjoy the day.
Carson Shay, a second-year student at South Carolina, said he would not be attending the game due to ticket prices, but he decided to take the trip the Athens to soak up all the action, as he "want[s] to see a Cocks win."
One of the great things about sports is that it has a tendency to bring families together to enjoy one common interest. In the case of a family duo, Brian and Kingston Armstrong, they have attended every game so far this season.
Though there has been cause for concern with stadiums being at full capacity for the first time in two years, Kingston did not seem to be worried. He said his mask was with him for every game thus far.
"I think last year was the only time it really felt strange," Kingston Armstrong said. "But this year, since I'm vaccinated, and I feel pretty safe, I just wear the mask just so that way if someone else isn't vaccinated, I don't get pretty sick."
For first-year retail student Olivia Cook, this was her first full-capacity stadium experience since COVID-19. She said she has felt good since she is vaccinated.
Editors note: The interviews for this article were done prior to kick off of the South Carolina vs. Georgia game Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.