Man! What a journey! Undoubtedly, most of you reading this post are unbelievably jacked up for this year’s College World Series, hoping the Gamecocks can become just the second team in history to win more than two consecutive CWS crowns. The title defense begins tonight against the Florida Gators, a familiar conference foe and, lest we forget, the team South Carolina defeated for last year’s title. But even though tonight’s game brings butterflies to my stomach, and the thought of yet another national title brings a twinkle to my eye, I’m more excited about even getting to Omaha in the first place.
Step 1: Getting the Credentials
A few days ago, I saw a Facebook post from one of my friends proclaiming his excitement at receiving a press credential for the CWS. I thought to myself, “If other people can get one, I might as well try too.” I figured at worst, I’d get rejected and not get to cover the College World Series, same as if I didn’t ask. So I applied. And after a somewhat testy email exchange with the NCAA’s Media Coordinator, the unthinkable happened–my request was approved. Which left me with a huge problem. How would I get to Omaha, pay for lodging, and get to and from the stadium?
Step 2: WORK YOUR NETWORK
Knowing I couldn’t pay $200 per night for a room, I decided to call everyone I could to see if they knew any kind souls in Omaha who would let an unfamiliar college student crash on their couch for somewhere between three and 11 nights. I called friends, old newspaper colleagues, pastors, other pastors, more pastors, random churches, professors’ wives, etc. Finally, a lead developed. My pastor knew a guy who went to my church two decades ago that became a pastor in Omaha until recently moving to a church in southeast Texas. (Catch all that?) I barely remembered him–I think he moved away from my church when I was 5 or 6. But that didn’t matter. I put in a call, he found a retired gentleman in his church willing to take me in for as long as I’d need to be there, and my biggest problem was solved!
Step 3: No Money? No Problem!
My advice here is that even if you think you don’t have enough money to make a trip (especially if you’re considering coming to Omaha later in the Series if we’re still in it but don’t think you have the cash), use your network to see if someone is willing to help you. You may be surprised at what you find. If you’re thinking of flying but are worried about transportation once you make it to Omaha (’cause that’s the predicament I find myself in), or any other place you’re thinking of visiting, rental cars will run you over $50 per day if you’re under age 25. So check out the public transportation in the city. See if you can find a kind soul to drop you off and pick you up. If you’re close enough, walk. Take a cab! (If it’s less than $50/day, you’re saving money from a rental car) Worried about food? Ramen noodles and Van Camp’s Pork and Beans are cheap no matter where you go! Wherever you’re trying to get to, you can get there for much cheaper than you think.
Afterword: Why is this Post Even Here?
Great question! What in the world does budgeting for a trip that you don’t have money for have to do with the College World Series?
Actually, it has everything to do with the College World Series. If it weren’t for the help from my network and the kindness of complete strangers, there wouldn’t be any CWS posts from Garnet Report. I’m so thankful for this opportunity and look forward to bringing you the BEST coverage from Omaha over what I hope is the next 11 days. Go Cocks, Battle, Win Anyway, Fear the Fish, etc.