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Living on the Campus of Champions

Last weekend the South Carolina Gamecocks became NCAA Women’s National Champions for the second time in program history defeating UCONN 64-49.

Led by National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston, WNBA draftee Destanni Henderson, and decorated coach Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks finished this season with a 35-2 record.

As a student at the University of South Carolina there was only one word to describe the campus on Sunday night: electric.

One long-standing Gamecock tradition from the student body is to celebrate any and every big win with a ceremonial dive into the fountain in front of the Thomas Cooper Library (see: Men’s Final Four berth in 2017 & UGA upset in 2019).

Credit: @GamecockWBB on Twitter

It was all-out pandemonium, essentially a tailgate at the reflection pool. Fraternities and sororities were strolling, people were shouting, drinking, celebrating, and absolutely sandstorming.

Some were crying, some were relieved, some expected this result but one thing remained true. Columbia, SC was the city of champions.

That feeling rolled over into Monday, as BOTH of my classes were canceled along with celebratory emails from the professors just as excited about the team’s big win.

This all culminated in the ultimate homecoming, the arrival of our champions back home.

A crowd gathered around Dawn Staley Way in front of Colonial Life Arena at 2:30 awaiting the return of our dominant team, and when the buses pulled up the feeling was unreal.

A thunderous “GAME! COCKS!” chant was led by President Harris Pastides and Athletic Director Ray Tanner as the team came out of the tunnels.

Students, alumni, fans of all ages from elders to children, all looking and pointing and awaiting words of wisdom from our star-studded head coach.

Coach Staley kept it short and simple thanking the fans, president, and AD “for putting women on a pedestal and treating us like the sport that we are.”

“We can’t wait to bring it back next year,” said Boston in her presser, and if this is how hyped the campus gets from a title, I definitely want to be here for a back-to-back.

Here’s a health Carolina, Forever to Thee!

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