Gameday gets a lot of hype in college, and with good reason. Some schools might fall short of expectations, while others exceed them (pretty heavily). USC is unequivocally a member of the second group. The easiest way to try and describe a gameday experience at USC is comparing the expectations of a freshman (me 3 years ago) with what a normal Saturday in the Fall feels like. (Spoiler – they’re a little bit different).
As a freshman, I was expecting USC football to be a big deal. But, my idea of a “big deal” was anything that was a bit larger than my high school football games, which weren’t exactly setting NCAA attendance records. Around 9AM on my first gameday in 2014, I walked outside of my New North dorm and was instantly awash in one of the coolest settings I’ve experienced to this day – all-encompassing pride. It was amazing, and I still reminisce about that first gameday.
The most exciting part about gameday at USC is that everyone is involved. Students, parents, friends, members of the local community – everyone comes out to tailgate and share in the spirit of USC football. It’s a friendly environment, and while sometimes anxious for the result of a big game, does so much more than get people excited for football – it makes the school have a sense of togetherness.
And it doesn’t stop there. Parents weekend (usually in October) brings even more excitement to campus, as USC goes all-out to create a unique experience for entire families. (And, if your parents are into football, odds are that they’ll love it too). The experience brings even more people together over football, and spreads happiness and a competitive spirit. When the Trojans win, we win as a team, and when we lose, the whole school feels the burden of defeat. Fortunately for USC, that doesn’t happen very often.
Finally, gameday is a chance to reconnect. Another great part of being in a PAC-12 school is the number of friends you might see on a gameday weekend who travel to support their team, and also see their buddies at USC. Every weekend, you can almost feel the presence of visiting schools (especially if they’re schools that are near Los Angeles).
I could go on – and many have, but the only way to truly understand how great football is at USC is to experience it for yourself. If not in person, watch the game on TV, and listen to the crowd. Listen to the students cheering, the Greatest Marching Band in The Universe playing, and the whole school coming together to support a singular cause. While the game of football is important, it’s really the community that makes it even better.
That’s why I love gameday.