Years ago, Joe Barbee, a lifelong NC State fan, began attending all the away NC State football games when someone else put the travel groups together.
Today, Barbee still attends the away football games (as well as home football games and several other Wolfpack sporting events), but now he’s one of the organizers.
“There’s a loyal group of people who travel to the football games,” says Barbee, a Raleigh native. “We have a good time at all the games.”
Barbee has a group of 26 fans going to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game when NC State takes on Tennessee on Friday in Atlanta. The group of fans is a combination of close relatives, co-workers and relatives from a large extended family. His daughter, Amanda, who also attended NC State, is flying in from New York City for the game. The group is a bit smaller than the group Barbee sits with at home football games in Raleigh, which generally numbers 30.
“We’ll have a lot of fun,” Barbee said of Friday’s game. “We’re excited about it. I’m so excited about football and I think we’ll have a great team this year….I’m expecting a good game in the Georgia Dome.”
One of Barbee’s favorite away games was in 1992, when NC State played the University of Iowa in New Jersey in a kickoff game. It was Barbee’s first trip to nearby New York City.
“We beat them that night,” he says. “They were favored. It was so exciting. That was a memorable game.”
Barbee is hoping for another exciting night this week, and a good season after that.
“I think we have a better than 50 percent chance of winning,” says Barbee, who predicts a 13-0 record at the start of every Wolfpack football season. “I think we have a better chance than we’ve ever had to win this first game.”
Barbee’s advice to all the Wolfpack fans on Friday night is: “Cheer hard, because it really pumps [the players] up when fans are behind them.”
Our stories from Atlanta this week were reported and written by Betsy Rhame-Minor, an Apex, N.C., native who grew up an NC State fan because her grandfather was an alumnus. She attended NC State for graduate school, earning a MA in English in 2006. Betsy is a writer and editor in Atlanta. When she’s back in Raleigh she enjoys seeing the Wolfpack women’s basketball team play in Reynolds Coliseum.