COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina football, volleyball and men's and women's soccer teams met fans and signed photos Sunday at the 2008 Fan Appreciation Day held at Colonial Life Arena. Below are quotes from student-athletes and coaches about what they enjoy most about Fan Appreciation Day.
Head Coach Mark Berson
"Fan Appreciation Day is a great opportunity for our players to have a chance to interact with the Gamecock community. It's a wonderful time for us to recharge our batteries, get ready for preseason and have a chance to see all the Gamecock fans face to face in a personal setting. It's a great thing. We do autographs after our games, which is great, but in this setting there's so many people here to see all of the sports that it's a great opportunity and privilege for our team. We look forward to it every year."
Senior Midfielder Kevan Hawkins
"(Fan Appreciation Day) is a great way to get back at the fans and we enjoy coming out here."
Senior Midfielder Spencer Lewis
"It's fun seeing little kids come out. They're excited for the season and coming here gets them involved. It's a great way to give back a little bit."
Senior Midfielder David Smith
"I love seeing the fans. They support us and tell us to beat Clemson or they're not coming to anymore of our games. It's always fun to see everyone that comes out and watches us."
Junior Midfielder Lindsay Small
"I like interacting with all of the little kids that are excited to get our autograph and just talk to us."
Junior Midfielder Kim Miller
"Getting a chance to meet the regular fans and people that come to our games is nice. We get to know them and talk to them here; it's a nice chance to interact."
Junior Defender Samantha Diaz-Matosas
"The thing I like the most about Fan Appreciation Day is getting to interact with the fans and getting to talk to the little kids. Basically it's just about showing appreciation for their support. We do the best we can to give back to the crowds."
Junior Defender Blakely Mattern
"I like being able to represent the soccer team and this University by coming to see all of the fans and give them something to take with them to represent our team. It means that we give back to all of the people that support us by coming to the games or donating to the Gamecock Club so that we can all have better facilities. It's mostly for them that we're here so it's important that we give back to them and make sure they feel appreciated because they deserve to be appreciated."
Junior Midfielder Shannon Bigbie
"Fan Appreciation Day is a great day because we get to feel rewarded for being a Carolina student-athlete. People come out and want to get our autographs. It's a fun time. We get to hang out with the fans and with the team and get a break from soccer!"
Senior Middle Blocker Belita Salters
"We get to meet all of the fans, even the one's that don't get to go to all of the games. It's fun to see how many people get to support our team and all of the athletes that are on campus. It's a good feeling."
Senior Libero Dinelia Concepcion
"I like that we get to see fans that probably can't make it to games. We get to talk to them and maybe what we share with them here will make them come to a game if they get a chance."
Senior Setter Petra Lorenzi
"Fan Appreciation Day is cool because you get maybe the people that don't come to volleyball games and the one's that do. It's good to see the kids come in and get excited by talking to us."