Well what can I say! We've survived our first night in Columbia with nary a scratch but some good stories are coming out of the woodwork.
Our evening started out at the FAU happy hour where we caught a quick glimpse of the players boarding buses before their walk through.
Many of the FAU "usual suspects" were in attendance to support their team and the bar had a lovely $2 mystery beer special that was hit or miss depending on if you were stuck with a Becks or Gaelic Ale or something more to my liking! The Dirties were in full force as well as our S. Fla media stalwart:
After the happy hour we ventured down to the Vista to grab a bite and start our evening, a quick walk past their beautiful capital building (top photo - though I don't know how I feel about a Confederate flag flying) and we were in the "upscale" south carolina scene. Loads of bars and restaurants in a few block radius and more "Bama Bangs" than you could shake a stick at. I stopped counting the "South Carolina Uniform" at about 25 in the first hour we were out. This uniform consists of boat shoes, short khaki shorts, a polo shirt and the infamous "Bama Bangs" and if you're not dressed like this in SC, no girls will talk to you! I'll get some pics today of the famous uniform.
We met some giant men at the Ale House that came to introduce themselves with a tray of 20 shots for our entire crew and after chatting with them for about an hour, we were invited to their tailgate parties, homes, Christmas dinners, everything. I can't believe how kind the people here are. Everyone is so nice it's difficult for a south Florida boy to understand. "Cadillac" left me with a treasure map (below photo) so I could find him and at the time, the map made total sense, but now, looking at it, I get the feeling that I may not see Cadillac again.
At this point our group split up, I stayed at the Vista which was uneventful but fun, just drinking, some dancing and an easy cab ride home. I have received reports from the crew that went to 5 points, which is known to be a bit more raucous, that one of our guys witnessed a girl getting "shivved" out on the streets. Certainly something I don't mind missing! I'll get that report today at some point and keep you posted.
Chance for rain seems to have decreased today, so that's looking good and even if we lose, we'll leave with great memories of this town. Man, I still can't get over how nice everyone is down here.