For the last couple of years, every time Rob Teal saw something promoting the Legendary Fan of the Game, he thought of one person – Betty Merck. Teal had grown up going to the First Baptist Church in Bishopville, and had formed a special relationship with Merck, who he called the biggest Gamecock fan he knew.

Finally, this summer, Teal saw an ad in Spurs & Feathers that provided the contact email to nominate someone for the Legendary Fan of the Game. Teal sent in a nomination for Merck, and the very next day he received a phone call from the Gamecock Club.

On Sept. 17, in the Gamecocks’ home opener against East Carolina, Merck, joined by many friends and family, was honored as the Legendary Fan of the Game. For Teal, there could be no one more deserving of the honor.

“I was so happy seeing how happy she was,” Teal said. “Her son was telling me how excited she was. She hadn’t tailgated in several years because her children are all grown now, so they kind of quit tailgating. So we did a whole tailgate with the family and everyone before the game and people from Bishopville dropped by and congratulated her. It was just a perfect day.”

Despite the high heat and humidity, the 83-year-old Merck hung right in there. But that’s not surprising when you look at the obstacles she’s overcome to get to Carolina football games and other events. A member of the Gamecock Club for 41 years, Merck hasn’t missed a home South Carolina football game in over 45 years.

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