Sports play a large role in the lives of many and are often part of the college experience. Students bond over supporting a common team and come together to pull for their school, creating powerful memories that resonate with them after they graduate and move into their post-collegiate lives.
Fourth-year students at the University of South Carolina shared some of their favorite sports moments from the last four years, dominated by football and basketball.
Although it was very recent, Gamecock football's victory over North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl last December was a popular response. Fourth-year criminal justice student Tyler Harbert said he appreciates the bowl victory because he views it as an exciting pivot in the program.
“The last season is kind of like a turnaround for USC, and I think that game sparked a little something in recruiting and just turning the whole direction of the program around altogether,” Harbert said. “I would say, overall, that that was probably my favorite sports moment by far in probably four years.”
Fourth-year accounting student AJ Madormo said the game was a milestone in the progress he’s been able to see made by the football program during his time in Columbia.
“It was a great moment from being able to say that I was there at the start of when Shane Beamer started coaching,” Madormo said. “Last year was not a great season overall, and then this year, we ended up winning a bowl game. Going from ineligible to play in any bowls, to end up already with a bowl game.”
Fourth-year multimedia journalism student Kaitlyn McCue fondly recalled watching the football team's upset win over No. 4 Georgia in 2019 with an alumni group.
“We were all at a bar watching the game, didn’t expect anything of it,” McCue said. “All of us were kind of speechless, and you could feel it in the air in the bar. I mean, everybody completely speechless, jaws on the floor, not knowing what to do or how to function at that point.”
Some great memories even happened during bad weather. This was the case for fourth-year public health student Lindsey Barr, who cherishes the moments she shared with those around her when Gamecock football beat Missouri in 2018.
"It was a monsoon, we were all drenched and soaking wet from the rain," Barr said. "We had, I feel like it was almost 10 lighting delays it felt like. All of our friend group and then a bunch of other kids in the student section, and all the fans stayed through all of it. We became legit best friends with the people beside us ... it showed how USC fans stay true."
Memories can be found not only on the football field but on the hardwood as well. Fourth-year finance and entrepreneurship student David Silverman’s favorite memory took place in January 2020 when the men’s basketball team knocked off No. 10 Kentucky thanks to a buzzer-beating three-point shot by current redshirt junior guard Jermaine Couisnard.
“Obviously, like many upsets, it wasn’t expected,” Silverman said. “Personally, me and my friends, we weren’t really sure if we wanted to go to it, and it really came down to the last couple minutes before the game where we had decided to go. And it ended up being a great decision … it was really a good moment for the school and for me personally.”
Colonial Life Arena is also home to the women’s basketball team, who provided fourth-year finance student Jake Whisler with his favorite memory just last February when they beat No. 12 Tennessee in ESPN's College Gameday matchup.
"I have never seen Colonial Life more packed in my life for anything," Whisler said. "The whole general admission section up top, like the nosebleeds, were filled out, it was crazy ... I've just never seen so many people come out to support any team ... just all the people and the energy that was there — crazy."
Whether in rain or shine, sports have been a way to bond with one's peers and support their school, leaving behind these moments for these seniors to remember forever.