Watching College Football at The Citadel

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on a little road trip to watch some college football. With Coastal Carolina opening the season against The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, South Carolina, I knew I wanted to make the short two hour drive. At around 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sidney and I hit the road.

We arrived in Charelston at around 3 p.m. that afternoon.¬†With kickoff at 6 p.m., Sidney and I went to a neighborhood bar called Moe’s to pass the time. In between appetizers and drinks, the bar staff was nice enough to turn on the Montana-Wyoming football game for us. It was a thrill for me to watch the first half of the game and see players, coaches, and athletic department officials who I used to see on a daily basis but hadn’t seen in over four months.

When the second quarter of the Montana game concluded, we made the walk to Johnson Hagood Stadium, home of The Citadel Bulldogs. We arrived right in time to watch the cadets march inside the stadium. As we entered the front gate of the facility we were greeted by the fierce bulldog sculpture that stands guard. We walked inside the stadium and after some confusion in the concourse we got re-directed to the opposite concourse where we eventually found our seats.

The Cadets marching in and Sidney and I outside by the bulldog.

The Cadets marching in and Sidney and I outside by the bulldog.

What stands out about Johnson Hagood Stadium is the castle-like structure built behind the south endzone. Or, as Sidney corrected me, the fortress looking structure. Castle or fortress, it looks really cool and definitely gives a distinguishing look to the stadium. Besides looking sweet it serves a very practical role as it houses locker rooms and athletic department offices. Another unique part about the stadium are three sections located in the southwest corner. This area serves as the cadet section and as all of them are dressed in their white uniforms, it looks really neat. Finally, there is a lot of history with Johnson Hagood. As I read on its Wikipedia page, soldiers were once buried underneath the stadium. If you have time, read the history.

A photo I snapped of the south endzone.

A photo I snapped of the south endzone.

As far as the fan experience it was very traditional. Until the very end of the game there was no canned music. The bands played the whole time. They don’t incorporate very many video board elements and in-game advertisements over the public address were kept to a minimum. It was pretty much just football.

The Cadets filled the three sections last night.

The Cadets filled the three sections last night.

Some other things to note: The stadium seats 21,000 and the playing surface is grass. After the game Sidney and I walked around on it. Although I never heard an official attendance number, I would estimate that there were probably 13,000 people there. Coastal Carolina traveled really well, both in fans and students. Thanks to two buses that took our students to the game free of charge, a whole section was filled just with them. Fans filled up another section plus some of another.

A look at some of the game action.

A look at some of the game action.

As for the game, Coastal Carolina controlled the contest the whole way through and won 31-16. Afterwards the public address announcer gave the cadets instructions on when they had to report in for the night. He gave a time for the seniors and juniors, a slightly earlier time for the sophomores, and then told the freshmen to retire back to the barracks immediately. It drew laughs.

Sidney and I on the field after the game. We had a good time. GO CHANTS!

Sidney and I on the field after the game. We had a good time. GO CHANTS!

I had a good time yesterday supporting my new university on the road. I am eager to travel to other away sites as well and cheer on the Chanticleers. Being able to do these things as a fan is a new concept for me and I am relishing the opportunity. Go Chants! Don’t Blink.