A not really that much of a secret I have is that I am a huge college football fan, and specifically, a huge Clemson fan. I grew up attending games with my grandmother and although it wasn’t my first pick, it is where I ultimately went and received my BA. Clemson’s alumni are familiar with the saying, “there’s something in those hills”, and oh is it so true. You can imagine my excitement when the football team ended their season 11-1, beat THE Ohio State University soundly in the playoffs, and defied history by making it to the National Championship game for a second year in a row. Clemson was to play Alabama for a rematch in Tampa, FL. As a student and young alumni, I attended all the games and had fun traveling throughout the east coast, watching my Tigers play. After having kids, everything changed. Not only was I NOT at the games, many times, I was upstairs watching on my iPhone while I nursed a child to sleep. My husband knew this would be something fun for me and he was determined for me to experience the excitement of the season so he made a trip to Florida happen. We traveled to Orlando, kids and in laws in tow, to see the Tigers play and win the title of National Champions. Husband of the year, right?
I didn’t bring my camera to the game because I didn’t want to have to worry about something getting spilled on it so as you can imagine, the quality of these pictures are going to be horrible. That being said, who cares because I captured an experience in my life that I’ll cherish forever.
We saw Sammy Watkins outside of the stadium. He honestly wasn’t that nice which was a bummer but I got a picture nonetheless. I tried to think of a variety of reasons that he may just have not been into it but I just have a feeling that if we had seen CJ Spiller, it would’ve been a different story. That’s okay though, we saw him! It was funny because there was a guy asking me questions about him and I honestly thought he was just messing with me. He asked if Sammy Watkins played in the pros and who he played for and was he good at Clemson. I’m not saying that everyone should know every Clemson player, but Sammy Watkins was to Clemson as let’s say, Julio Jones was to Bama meaning, if I know who Julio Jones is, you gotta know Sammy Watkins!
This was our first date night since Alex was born. Any other date night is going to be hard to live up to this, am I right?
I know the color cast in this photo is crazy but look how close we were!! Even if it was the Alabama section :/
I know this is just football and not everyone is into it, especially to the extent that I am, but this has really been an inspiring experience for me. That seems so weird to say but if you know anything about Dabo at all, you’ll understand a bit of where I am coming from. He’s faced a lot of adversity in his life, but he’s never let that deter him. He’s thought about quitting but listened to his heart which led him to where he is today. One of my biggest defects is that I don’t try hard enough. I feel like if it’s not happening easily then it’s not meant to be. Not that I’ve never worked hard for anything because I have, BUT I think I believe too much in fate and not enough in myself. I have been inspired by this team and the words of Dabo. Here are some of the things I’ve taken away from this whole season:
1. Believe in yourself even if no one else does
WOW is this hard for me. I care WAY WAY WAY WAY too much about what other’s think of me. I’m such a perfectionist and so, when I try new things, I want to be perfect. I don’t want to be “caught” messing up. Why? I have no idea but I think it’s because I don’t want to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable means others can hurt you. This team definitely had their fair share of hurtful words from fans, other players, and the media. Can you imagine constantly having someone write about you being lazy, you being caught you in the spotlight, etc? These guys didn’t listen to the talking heads saying they weren’t good enough. They went out, believing in themselves, and won a freaking title.
When it got hard, they didn’t give up. When they almost lost to NC state by a field goal, they didn’t give up. When they did lose to Pittsburgh and no one ever thought a one loss ACC team would make the playoffs, they didn’t give up. When DeShaun, a Heisman hopeful from the beginning of the season, through however many interceptions he threw (I think something like 17), he didn’t give up. When Dabo’s 2008 football team went 7-6 and everyone, including me, thought he was a failure and wanted to fire him, he didn’t give up. When the team made it all the way to the 2015 National Title game and lost to Alabama, then had to start this year over at zero, they didn’t give up. I need to do that. When I feel like no one is reading this freaking blog, I’m just going to keep going because I like it and I’m not giving up. When I’m sitting in my car crying because Ellie had a meltdown and Alex wants to nurse for the umpteenth time today and I just want to run away to a far away place, I don’t give up. When I’m running those last few miles of a half marathon and my legs/hips hurt, don’t give up.
What is going to get me through the tough times and help me have those characteristics above, faith. I’m not saying it has to be a certain faith but some kind of faith in SOMETHING is what gives me hope. Dabo had to sell faith and hope to all of the players he’s recruited over the years. That’s how he got the CJ Spillers, the Sammy Watkins, the DeShaun Watsons, the Mackenzie Alexanders, and all the guys they’ve had over the years to get them to this point. Faith is what led Dabo to get back into coaching after he almost gave up. Faith is what kept them going when they were down 14-0 in the first half of the title game.
WHAT A FREAKING INSPIRATION!! I’m so grateful to my husband and my in laws for helping me to be a part of this because this was something that touched me in so many ways!!