UNION COUNTY — Football season is approaching, and the Union County Booster Club is gearing up to support the Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets’ first home game is against Gaffney on Friday, Aug. 22. Year after year, the rivalry between those schools fills most every seat in every section of Union County Stadium when the game is at home. Many longtime Jacket fans are aware that stadium seating Sections 103, 104, and 105 are reserved, but fans may not realize how much time and effort goes into the organization of that reserved seating, reserved stadium parking, season tickets and booster club memberships. The process requires a system which has been perfected by one local woman over the past 15 years.
Gail Cobb took over that process after the passing of her close friend Sarah Beth Smith, who was affectionately referred to as the “booster club police” by fellow club members. Smith had large boards, with blocks drawn to represent each seat in the reserved sections. When Cobb took over, she continued to use the boards, while continuing to perfect an organizational system which ensures dedicated Yellow Jackets fans will have a most enjoyable experience on Friday nights.
“I would be lost without the boards,” Cobb said, adding that she has changed the system over the years after finding ways to further perfect it.
Before each football season begins, Cobb calls people to confirm whether or not they will renew their booster club memberships or purchase season tickets, reserved seating and parking passes. Cobb has a printout of names, which she lists on the seating chart boards. Her kitchen table then becomes a box office as she addresses and stuffs ticket envelopes and assigns names to seating sections. After years of work, Cobb knows her system inside and out, and she knows most of the seating arrangements by heart.
“I can usually look and tell if somebody is not in the right seat,” she said.
On Tuesday evening, Cobb carried out her annual process with the help of her family. She said she was teaching her children what to do in the future. Cobb’s children joked with her that they were going to change her system. Her granddaughter is ready to computerize it, but Cobb said it’s best not to fix what isn’t broken. Her son, Steve, joked that he may have to go over his mother’s head to change the system.
“I’m as high as you can go,” she said.
“We had a different way, but she corrected me real quick,” laughed Gail’s daughter-in-law, Becky Cobb.
“My system worked the best,” Gail said.
Union County Booster Club memberships — as well as other benefits — are still available for the upcoming season. A club membership is $25, and members are allowed to park inside the Union County Fairgrounds for Yellow Jackets home games. Season tickets are $30, and they are good for five home games. Reserved parking inside the stadium parking lot is $50 per space.
“The reserved parking is a big convenience,” Steve said. “People can come in at 7:15 without having to worry.”
There are 165 reserved parking spaces available in the stadium parking lot, and as of Tuesday evening, there were around 20 spaces still available.
Reserved seating and parking is also good for the playoffs, but members still have to buy additional tickets for playoff games, per the South Carolina High School League rules.
The booster club will have a table set up for ticket purchase or pick-up at the “Meet the Jackets” event at Union County Fairgrounds on Thursday, Aug. 14. The club also has memberships and passes available at the Union County Recreation Department and the Main Street branch of Arthur State Bank in Union.
For more information or to purchase memberships and/or passes, call Gail Cobb at (864) 427-2918 or Vicki McCully at (864) 427-1851.