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Saturday, September 24, 2011

tradi[tion]

I love Clemson football. Enough said.


My sister and her husband have season tickets, and go to every home game, and we try to make it to at least one game per season. Pathetic, I know!

Last weekend, Brian and I made the trip up to Clemson to see the Tigers play the Auburn Tigers. We don’t play very often, but when we do, we usually get beat. At least the last few times that I’ve witnessed it, like the Peach Bowl, New Year’s Eve after the 2007 season. It was not a pretty sight. And it gave me a migraine to boot, so I’ve always had a bad taste for Auburn football! Sorry friends… which is another story in itself, the amazing number of folks that I hang out with are Auburn grads! Good people. Just don’t like when our teams play each other!!

So, back to the weekend. We met up with Allison & Brad (sis & bro-in-law) in their hometown of Spartanburg, then the four of us (+Winston, their pug) headed to Clemson.  Well, Pendleton actually, which is where Brad’s mom lives, and she was kind enough to let us crash for the night, so as to avoid having to wake up super-early to make the drive. Her house is about 5 minutes from the stadium, whereas A & B’s is about an hour and a half. Ours on the other hand is approximately 4-1/2 to 5 hours! So, good thing we made the trip the day before.

With some hesitation, Brian let me fly my window flag, and put my gigantic Clemson magnet on his mini. He’s more of a UGA fan (and Auburn fan), although this weekend he pulls for Clemson!

We got up super-early regardless on Saturday, due to fears of traffic. It was a noon game and therefore our tailgating time was limited. We maximized the time though, setting up the buffet and coolers by 8am. Brian had a beer in hand by 8:27am, as I eased into a mimosa. 


One of the traditions of Clemson football is the Tiger Walk, where fans congregate along the road from Perimeter Road to the stadium, and the buses drop the coaches, players, and chearleaders off for the short walk to through the crowd. The coolest part is the up-close-and-personal feel of the experience, shaking hands and high-fiving with the players. It’s also a time to see the Tigers decked out in their Sunday best, wearing suits and ties, and looking all sharp in their 80’s sunglasses. Love it.


From there, it’s back to tailgating, but Brian and I slipped off to Lee Hall, which is the College of Architecture building, where I spent 4 years of undergrad + 2 years of grad school. I had heard from a friend that with the construction of the new building out back, there had been some renovations to the existing late 1950’s modern building, so I was eager to see both! As it turns out, they’ve torn out the carpet and polished the concrete, shifted walls around on the main level, and added offices and classrooms to the grad tower. It looks great, but there’s a part of me that misses the old grad tower especially. Apparently the graduate students are currently housed in portable trailers out back, in hopes of getting into the new building. Here are photos of the newly renovated existing building...


The new structure was designed by Thomas Phifer from New York, a South Carolina native and a Clemson alumni, so it’s pretty cool that he was awarded the design. The building incorporates many green aspects with lots of natural light, skylights, geothermal wells, etc. A top-notch facility, for sure. And photos of the new building under construction...


We also explored some of the undergraduate studios to see what cool projects we could find. I really liked this model of an airport…


Once we made it back to Lot 10 (the Loonies as they call themselves), it was time to pack up and head to Death Valley! Brian and I had seats near the Clemson student section, thanks to Lindsey who works for the Athletic Department. We’ve sat in these seats before, and they are quite nice because they are sheltered by the upper deck, and are only a couple of rows down from the box seats, so you don’t have a whole lot of folks behind you. It’s fun too because the students really keep the spirits high, and we barely sat down the entire game!


Dubbed “the most exciting 25 seconds in college football”, the tradition of running down “the hill” is in fact one of the most exciting 25 seconds of game day at Clemson. I still get chills every time the buses arrive and the coaches and staff get out and rally around the rock. As the canon fires, the players rub the rock, and everyone barrels down the hill and onto the field while the cheerleaders cut flips, the band plays the Tiger Rag, and what seems to be a million orange balloons are released into the air, drifting through the stadium and out towards Lake Hartwell. It is truly a proud moment as a Clemson grad.

 
 
 

And we’re off… and uh-oh, the Auburn Tigers score back-to-back touchdowns in a matter of minutes of the kick-off. What? 14-0? Oh my, this is going to be a loooong game. But wait, Clemson scores! 14-7. Auburn scores, 21-7, and then by halftime, we are all tied up! 21-21. Phew!


Brian and I took halftime to grab a couple of hotdogs and Cokes and relax out in the concourse, great for people watching and chilling out. But before we know it, halftime is over, and the Clemson Tigers have scored a touchdown before we even have time to make it back to our seats! I won’t go through the whole game, but I am happy to report that Clemson prevailed and won 38-24!

No one was as shocked as I was! So back to the car for celebration! We tailgated for a while, and then hit the road back to Spartanburg. Time to see my niece, Ellie!! And my mom. J The next 24 hours were all Ellie-time, my favorite time. Here we are pretending to be frogs. She is so fun.


So today, the newly ranked #21 Clemson Tigers go on to play the #11 Florida State Seminoles at Death Valley, and hopefully the tigers will hold onto that aggressive spirit that they demonstrated last weekend, and continue their perfect season. Go Tigers!!

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