HD Video: More than just an Atmosphere

Out of all the football stadiums I have been to, I have never felt one shake, until ‘Sandstorm’ was played at Williams-Brice. When the beat fires up and the towels are flying, South Carolina fans are unstoppable and the atmosphere is untouchable. So much so, the fans are almost a literal factor in a games outcome.

It’s the crazier, the better at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Filled to the top with its fifth-largest attendance in history, the rain didn’t seem to slow things down for garnet-and-black fans piling in. They seemed to almost welcome it.

Before heading to Columbia, the Bulldogs were worried about the atmosphere in general. Head coach Mark Richt noted it was a tough place to play.

Mark Richt

"It's very difficult to get things communicated verbally in that type of atmosphere, that's the biggest thing," said Richt leading up to the game on Saturday.

South Carolina has now taken the ‘W’ three times in a row at home, and the Bulldogs have not taken a win in Columbia since 2008.

Running back Todd Gurley was the star to stop in Saturday’s match-up, and South Carolina’s defense did just that.

Al Harris Jr tackles Todd Gurley

“This place is unbelievable. This place has one of the most crazy environments I’ve ever been in. Once you give the fans something to get excited about, it’s hard to shut them up. I hope I never hear that (Sandstorm) again,” said Gurley.

The Gamecocks 38-35 win over Georgia collected a total of 84,232 fans for game day.

Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone generated an article on ‘The Psychology of being a Sports Fan’. In it, Stone reveals that there is an actual study on sports fanaticism.

A study by Paul Bernhardt at Georgia State University in 1998 noted male spectators in sporting events experience the same testosterone surges as the players themselves. Also, scientists have noted “mirror neurons” are activated by not just participating in sports, but watching others participate.

Fans seem to experience a sense of self-identity with a team.

Football is a common religion in households across the southeast, and South Carolina is no different. Therefore, Williams-Brice is a direct reflection of the sense of pride and heart not only of a team, but its fans.

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