It's almost time to switch seasons in Columbia with the football season slowly winding down and multiple winter sports quickly shifting into gear.
November brings winter sports along with colder weather, and Gamecock students and fans will be in sports heaven, cheering on Shane Beamer and the football team one day, and then doing the same in Colonial Life Arena for a basketball game the next.
Dawn Staley and the women’s basketball team start their national championship defense tour on Nov. 7 at home against East Tennessee State. A day later, Lamont Paris starts his first season as the men’s basketball coach when South Carolina takes on S.C. State.
But winter isn’t just for both Gamecocks basketball teams. Countless other sports will be competing as well, including equestrian, swim and dive, track and field, tennis and more.
As Paris and other first-timers like GG Jackson prepare to begin their first seasons with their respective teams, and as the 2019 women’s basketball recruiting class is preparing to finish out their time in Columbia, I'm about to graduate and potentially leave the place I've called home my entire life.
With graduation just around the corner in December, I'll look back fondly on all the experiences I had covering winter sports at South Carolina.
Driving a total of 36 hours to cover the women’s basketball team play in the 2021 Final Four game in San Antonio, Texas, watching South Carolina beat UConn for the first time and seeing students storm the court against Kentucky are memories I’ll look back on forever.
Many of you are probably right there with me when it comes to nerves for what comes next after college. I'm slightly terrified of the change, to be honest. But speaking to some of the members of the women’s basketball senior class — including Aliyah Boston, Zia Cooke, Brea Beal and Olivia Thompson — and hearing that they feel the same way comforted me.
While those student-athletes have lived their college lives in the national spotlight — and I certainly haven’t — it is cool to know that even they get a bit anxious when thinking about leaving Columbia.
But, before we leave, there's a lot to celebrate. Turn the page to learn more about how our student athletes and sports teams are adapting to change.
Forever to thee,