At first it may seem like a cruel April Fool’s Day jest.
But despite what the calendar may tease, it’s no joke: The University of South Carolina’s Garnet and Black Spring Football game and the Carolina Cup are both scheduled on April 1.
That means while thousands of Gamecock fans know they’ll be tailgating on April Fool’s Day, many aren’t quite sure if it will be in a Camden field near (presumably) a horse track, or in the shadow of Williams-Brice Stadium.
“For a lot of people in Columbia and USC, that puts everything in a pickle,” said Jay Brockhoff, a USC graduate.
Both events are springtime traditions for many Gamecock fans, an opportunity to sunburn skin that has been hibernating from the sun during the winter, while imbedding brews and eating tailgate fare.
“The Carolina Cup is almost like a reunion of sorts,” said Brockhoff. “But the spring game is always great because it is everyone’s first chance to see what the team will look like.”
While having to choose between the events is rare, fans are used to having conflicts. After all, a lot happens in April and there are only four weekends in the month.
Still, having to choose between what many consider the premier events of the season will be agonizing for some. Going to both would be extremely tricky – the football game begins at 2 p.m., and the Carolina Cup gates open at 9 a.m with the first face starting at 1:30 p.m. It’s 38 miles between the Springdale Race Course in Camden and Williams-Brice Stadium.
So, will USC fans be wearing bow ties and floppy hats on April 1 or waving Gamecock rally towels?
“It’s exciting to us to see so many options for people,” said Jack Claypoole, executive director of My Carolina Alumni Association. “It’s part of what makes USC a world class university, and Columbia a vibrant city.
“It makes life more fun in the Midlands.”