In this second edition of "Tales From The Road" I'll recall the best I can, my trip to Greenville, South Carolina, to see the Silverbacks take on Greenville FC. As a city, I have a huge soft spot for Greenville, and it's a place I could see myself moving to after College if I don't end up staying in Atlanta. The extent of my love for Greenville is to the point where my friends are concerned. Personally, I think they overreact because it's not like I can't just drive the 2.5 hours on Saturdays to watch the Silverbacks with them if it does indeed happen. The moral of this story is that there might be a little bit of bias in this post, but I don't see it as a negative one.
Our story begins at roughly 1pm in Dunwoody, as the same road trip partner from my trip to Asheville is stuck at his side job, I find myself hungry and in need something to do while I wait for him to get off. I decided to eat at the Burger King around the corner from his Complex. Keep in mind I hadn't eaten at Burger King I have no idea how long so I wasn't sure what to expect. Nothing could have prepared me for what might be the best deal I've ever seen: 10 Chicken Nuggets for $2. Sure Burger King's Chicken Nuggets ( and the rest of their food in general) isn't the best but it was still a fantastic deal, and it meant that I would have more Beer Money in Greenville.
We had an extra friend join us for the car ride to Greenville, and somehow, I ended up sitting in the back seat, but once again I was in charge of the playlist, so not all was lost. Unfortunately, my playlist making skills would later be replaced by my trusty pilot getting a Sirius XM subscription, but it was fun while it lasted.
We arrived in Greenville at the Campus of Furman University at roughly 4:30 in the afternoon if I recall correctly. Furman is a litttle bit further north of Downtown Greenville so there was no shopping or eating to be done, but that didn't matter we found a good tailgating spot near Furman's Football stadium, isolated away from the rest of the event-goers, and then proceeded to have our beers and kick the ball around under the shade of a tree.
This was how the majority of our pregame was spent, and then it came time to go into the stadium. There were two elderly ladies taking tickets at the game, and when it became my turn to go in, Uptown Funk was playing over the PA system and they were jamming away while taking tickets, which I thought was pretty cool. I decided to walk around the stadium and I saw two things I wasn't expecting: A King Of Pops vendor, and someone wearing the jersey of my favorite Bundesliga team, Schalke.
After I got my popsicle and awkwardly complimented a stranger on his Schalke jersey, I went back to join my friends and see what other Silverbacks fans had spotted us and were prepared to join us.
If memory serves me right, there were close to 10 Silverbacks fans that made the trip. One of which attended East Carolina University in Greenville, NORTH Carolina, a place which he has very fond memories of, more so than the South Carolina version at least. I must say I got a real big kick out of him screaming "THIS IS NOT THE REAL GREENVILLE " at the top of his lungs on one or two occasions during the game.
Security at this game was pretty relaxed, to the point where they let some fans stand on the ledges of the walls separating the stands and the playing field. I didn't have much faith in me being able to keep my balance so I tried to stay off of it, but those with better balance seemed to be having the times of their lives.
The game itself ended as a 1-1 draw. The Silverbacks failed to convert an early Penalty kick opportunity but would manage to put one in just a few minutes later. Greenville would then equalize, and the game would end as a draw, but not without a few fireworks. Late in the game, there was a skirmish on the side of the field furthest from where I was standing that nearly emptied the benches. In the end, Ebrima Njie was shown a red card, and to this day I'm not entirely sure what really happened. Someone asked Njie after the game what happened with the red card and he only shook his head and laughed.
So after the game, there was still one more thing to do, find a bar to watched Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, in which my Washington Capitals were playing in. The closest place was The Pumphouse Grill. It also happened to be karaoke night at The Pumphouse, with most of the patrons opting to cover Country songs, and I figured "hey I'm just here to get some food and watch Hockey with my friends. I can tune this out." The Capitals were well in control of the game and the Buffalo Chicken Sub I ordered was very satisfying, but eventually, it got to the point where I was dying for variety in music, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I decided to channel my inner-Tom Delonge. When I say that I don't mean I tried to chase aliens and UFOs, I'm saying I chose to sing All The Small Things by Blink-182, As I'm singing the chorus of the song I happen to look over at my road trip partners who are sitting at our table reasonably close to the stage, both taking videos of me and cheering me on. It was at that moment I realized just how great of a trip this was. Yes our team had tied a game they probably should have won, and the heat was absolutely terrible that day. But here we were in a bar where we undoubtedly stuck out like sore thumbs having the time of our lives.
After the Capitals won the Hockey game, we decided to head home, but not without a stop at 7-11 so I could get my Slurpee fix. I would like to end the story there, but I feel like I have to point the very next day that I ended up having a Pool Party with a few friends, and I said that I wouldn't mind moving to Greenville after college and one friend's response was "Taylor! We were literally just in Greenville yesterday. Should I have just left you there?" To which I paused for a second, and then replied with "yes."
So there you have it. Now you know how much I love Greenville, how enthusiastic I am about Karaoke, and how good I am at making the most of a disappointing result. Stay tuned for my next post where I will talk about my trip to Nashville. I don't want to give too much away because then you wouldn't read it, but it was definitely the best trip of the summer.