Photo for Best Sports Venue: Williams-Brice Stadium
Photo by Gracie Bryant

Best Sports Venue: Williams-Brice Stadium

By Gracie Bryant

It’s no surprise that Willams-Brice Stadium has won Best Sports Venue once again. In all honesty, I don’t think anything will come close. (Although, Dawn Staley is building something special in Colonial Life Arena with her women’s basketball team.) Saturdays in South Carolina are a memorable experience for all Gamecocks. Whether you’ve been a fan for 50 years or five minutes, listening to the opening “Welcome to Williams-Brice” video will send chills down your spine. 

I’ve gone to every home football game that I could since freshman year. Whether it was 95 F, raining or a cold November night, missing out on the game has never been an option. Now, as a senior, I’m glad that I took hold of those Saturdays and cherished standing in the student section screaming “we must protect this house” with all of our might.

However, this year Williams-Brice Stadium felt extra special. It was upgraded to have colored LED lights that flashed along with music, videos and Sandstorm. I didn’t know lights could have such an impact, but I was so wrong. When the stadium went dark and came back red for the “Don’t Stop Believing” video in the season's first game, I felt chills across my body. When it happened again during my last game as a student, I hugged my friends tight and may have shed a few tears. 

The lights weren’t the only things lighting up Willy-B this season though. During the 2022 season, the South Carolina Gamecock football team went 8-5. We were ranked No. 19 by the College Football Playoff committee, the highest CFP ranking in program history, and secured a spot in the Gator Bowl.

Yet, the best memory of the season came when the team beat Tennessee 63-38 at the last home game of the season, which was also my final game as a student. We ran out of fireworks from scoring so many touchdowns. We rushed the field. I lost my voice. It was a great night that I’ll never forget with some of my favorite people by my side. 

The next week, we beat Clemson on its home turf, ending the Tiger’s 40-game home winning streak. As a Carolina fan for life, that one felt extra special. 

Over the last year, I’ve also gotten to watch my sister fall in love with football and Willy-B like I did as a baby gamecock, which was so heartwarming. I’ve made a lot of memories in Williams-Brice Stadium in the last four years, but senior year was something extra special. 

Willy-B won Best Sports Venue for a reason, and I hope that all current and future Gamecocks never forget the special moments that have been, are being and will be created in those stands. I’ll never stand in the student section again, but I’m counting down the days until I can yell “Go Cocks!” as an alumnus.