Simply put, one of the best aspects of college is the sporting events. While education is obviously priority number one, some of the best memories are made in arenas and stadiums across the country. Whether it be attending a football game at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, catching a basketball game downtown at FedexForum, or even a women’s soccer match over at South Campus, the University of Memphis is as exciting a place as any.
I still remember the first time I went to a game at the Liberty Bowl. The band playing that signature fight song, the almost-intoxicating aroma of all the different foods, the cool breeze whipping through the stadium, the gleam of the helmets under the bright lights; I can still picture it all perfectly when I close my eyes. There is no feeling like walking up the ramp and finally seeing the green of the field for the first time with the huge Tiger logo in the middle and the striped endzones; the feeling still overwhelms me every time all these years later. The sea of blue-clad fans hanging on dearly to every play could keep anyone with a pulse fully engaged in what was happening down on the field.
When the FedExForum is rocking, there is quite literally no other environment in college basketball like it. Out of the 357 programs who compete in Division I basketball, only seven of them play in arenas that also host an NBA team. Almost all of them are on the east coast. Memphis is the only exception. In a town that has always been crazy about its hoops, FedExForum is an absolute blast when the Tigers have it going. Whether it be because of a ferocious dunk or three-point barrage, it gets so loud it often feels like the entire arena is shaking. Once fans are back in full force, it is not something you want to miss.
One can spend an entire day at South Campus taking in a wide variety of sports and never get tired of it. The tall oak trees sprawling around the outer edge of the baseball field provide great shade and natural beauty that serves as a perfect backdrop for an area that just always seems to be bustling with activity. Whether it be men or women’s soccer, a baseball game at FedExPark or even a track meet, South Campus has a little bit of everything for everyone.
Every college team in America generally believes it has the best fans. While that debate is far too subjective and could go on forever, there is no arguing that Memphis fans are extremely passionate about supporting their squads. The deafening, palpable roar of a Liberty Bowl crowd on a Saturday night is as exhilarating as any feeling out there; it sticks with you long after you have left the stadium gates. The same goes for the FedexForum.
While the past year has been a major challenge for fans and teams alike, the symbiotic relationship between the two truly is remarkable to witness first-hand. One thing is for certain: Memphis loves its Tigers. Once you experience the city in all its blue-clad glory, you will too.
After hosting ESPN's College Gameday on Beale Street, tickets to the Tigers vs. SMU Mustangs sold out and set a stadium and conference record for football attendance.