Thursday, January 5, 2012

a little bit of orange

I'm not one to rant and rave about football.  I sport my team colors with pride.  I support my team proudly, but steer clear of the snide, nasty remarks made by opposing teams--both my fellow fans and opposing fans.  I support my team more because of the institution and less because of the athletic program.

Here is my most humble opinion....in the great state of South Carolina there are two known football teams.  And this past season, both of them had remarkable seasons.  And both institutions offer an excellent education and outstanding opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Yesterday, I wore a rather large and beautiful orange and purple flower.  And I heard lots of comments about my flower--good and bad.  It was the perfect accessory considering my team was playing in a bowl game last night.  I'll admit...I didn't watch not the first second of the game.  One, we only get 10 channels and ESPN is not one of them.  Two, I was dealing with bathtime and bedtime routines with a seven month old. 

Today, I've heard some comments about the losing team and how funny the game was to watch.  All the commentary had me pondering all the things I love about my alma mater and I thought I would share a few...

My alma mater is more than the color orange or purple. It is more than football or baseball or basketball.  It is a feeling.  And until you have experienced it, you just won't get it.  My alma mater buries itself deep in your heart and thumps louder and louder and louder the older you get.

My alma mater is tradition.  It's military background and agricultural education paved the way for the university we love today.

My alma mater has home-made ice cream.  And for an ice cream lover, that makes for a little piece of heaven on Earth.

My alma mater has the most beautiful sunsets over the most beautiful clock tower.  The sky is painted orange and purple in the most spectacular display of beauty a person can imagine.

My alma mater is family.  I am forever bound by an unseen thread to men and women all over the world who feel the same feeling I do and have experienced the same traditions that I have experienced.

My alma mater is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.  And there is something in those hills that beckons me to return over and over and over again.  It echos in my heart day after day.

My alma mater is Clemson University.  And despite the score of the game last night--or any other time--the fact still remains that I love the ground in which I tread for 10 years, first as an undergraduate then a graduate student and finally an employee. I love Clemson University to the depths of my heart.  Because it was during my time at Clemson, that I learned about faith and family and friends.  It was during my time at Clemson that I learned how to be me.

"There is something in these hills that brings together and binds together and holds together men and women of all persuasions, of all heights, sizes, weights, and cultural backgrounds--something that cuts acroos every difference, spans every gap, penetrates every wall--something that makes a man or a woman stand taller, feel better and say with high pride to all within earshot, "I went to Clemson."  ~Joe Sherman, Class of 1934

So today--just like any other day--I stand tall, feel better and still am proud to say that I went to Clemson.

Go Tigers!  Congratulations on an amazing 2011 football season!

58 comments:

  1. Love this! As a Clemson alum, I agree with you that it is a feeling in your heart. And today I am heartbroken for our football team and fans. It was incredibly painful to watch and I couldn't bear to watch anymore after the first half was over. But I'm still so proud of what we accomplished this season. Go Tigers!

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  2. Hi! I found your blog through some friends on Facebook, and I love this! I do love and grieve over football, and I still stand tall today being a Clemson alum -- I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  3. Dear ol' Clemson, we will triumph and with all our might, that the Tiger's roar may echo o'er the mountain height!

    GREAT post Jessica! GO TIGERS!

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  4. Love this Jessica!! I too, am always proud to be a Clemson Tiger!!

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  5. you put so beautifully exactly how i am feeling today too...thx jess!

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  6. I am not a Clemson grad and have never wanted to be but after reading this a little of me wishes I could say that about my alma mater and because I can't it sort of makes me wish I had gone to Clemson!!! Maybe if had I wouldn't write a run on sentence like that!!!!!!

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  7. Awesome. Tears to my eyes...not because of winning or losing a game but because you have captured the essence of why we love our alma maters....good days and bad ones. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Wow! Great blog! Brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart! In my experience the most snide comments for or against any team are made by those who didn't attend (or graduate) from that university. I am FOREVER proud to wear my orange and purple - have it on today! Go Tigers!!

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  9. Terrific post, fellow Tiger! There is, indeed, something in those hills. :)

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  10. Terrific post, fellow Tiger! There is, indeed, something in those hills. :)

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  11. Love this! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. I can't help but read this over and over again today! And each time I do, I cry. Thank you for sharing your heart...it is exactly what I needed today. A Tiger always and forever!

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  13. I stumbled upon your blog because someone posted it on facebook. I love this. I love meeting other people who feel the same way I do about our alma mater. This brought tears to my eyes. Go Tigers!

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  14. What a wonderful blog post!
    We live in Greenville SC but I grew up in the Durham/Chapel Hill area...things can get really nasty round athletics up that way too! I just laughed growing up bc I really never understood what all the fuss was about.
    But then I went to Alabama, boy did I find out quick what a rivalry was! Still, my heart is forever tied to that school, the city and state. I love the school for SO much more than the football program. So I totally get what you say.
    I think everyone shares the same passion and love for the colleges they go to...some fans and alums just take athletics a bit too far.
    The experiences and the ties to one's college are so much more than athletics. Well said!
    Roll Tide and since we have a football condo there, Go Clemson!

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  15. Wow! I found your blog from facebook and As a fellow Clemson grad...incredible post! My parents met at Tigerama, My husband's parents met at Clemson as well!My husband and I met at the Esso Club and I too, found my faith there and have lifelong freindships! I grew up 20 minutes from there and needless to say...There is something in those hills!! Thank you for putting into words what so many of us are feeling! ;)

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  16. Well said! Clemson alums definitely know the feeling you describe. Go Tigers!

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  17. Fabulous! I was heartbroken last night. I have perspective as in I realize there are much worse things but I am also a former athlete and continue my competitive sppirit today. I also find that Clemson is etched in my soul.

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  18. Great blog! Brought tears to my eyes also, I will always love Clemson, and it's not all about the football! Go TIGERS!!! Forever PROUD!!

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  19. Your post echoes my feelings! I am a Clemson graduate and married a Clemson graduate who is also a former starting football player. Clemson is so much more than a football game. Thanks with sharing your thoughts on your blog. I will be sharing it through facebook!

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  20. Very true. I think this aspect of Clemson gets overshadowed by the ridiculousness of sports. I've got two degrees myself that tell me how wonderful it is to be a Clemson Tiger, and that is so much more than a fan could ever be. So thanks for posting and reminding everyone what Clemson is truely about.

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  21. What a great post! (and a great blog) THANKS for sharing!

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  22. I believe your words spoke from the heart and verbalized what the Spirit of Clemson really is. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

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  23. beautifully put. im borrowing some of this!

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  24. Thank you. You've said what my hear felt.

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  25. I'm a huge South Carolina Gamecocks' fan and am proud of BOTH teams for their exceptional season. I'm sincerely sorry for Clemson's loss last night. It was a tough night, but they have so much to rejoice in this year and so much to look forward to next year.

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  26. love love love! thanks so much for this!

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  27. I hope you don't mind if I quote you. You said it perfectly. I have not and will not graduate from Clemson, but I met an incredible guy four years ago that little by little gave me the Clemson spirit that I am now proud of. It wasn't until this year that I truly understood it all, but even though I am an avid Georgia Bulldog fan, I will fight for those Tigers any day of the week. Just because it's Clemson. Very well-spoken. Thank you.

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  28. Beautifully said! And it's true, the older I get the more I love that wonderful place.

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  29. I couldn't have said it any better! Go Tigers!

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  30. Great sentiment! I concur as a fellow Clemson alum.

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  31. Wonderful post! I think all of the comments that precede mine are a testament to that! My family is a Clemson-loving family; some alums, mostly not (myself included)...but we all love our Tigers! Thanks for sharing!

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  32. You have accurately described the Clemson and its people who are so very dear to me. Clemson truly is a special place. I am MA Prater & you have described my Clemson.

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  33. We moved to NM from Clemson nearly 4 years ago. This past fall, we were at the Albuquerque balloon fiesta enjoying the riot of colors and activity on the giant launch field. My husband, son and I all spotted the giant orange and purple balloon at the same moment. The one with the unmistakable paw prints on it. We went nuts. I ran across the field (in my Clemson ball cap) and hugged the owner guy - even though I'd never seen him before in my life.

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  34. Amen, fellow Tiger! Amen! You have summed it up perfectly!

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  35. Exceptional post - gives me chills! You wonderfully described why my blood runs orange & always will. Thanks very much! I will always be proud to say that I am a Clemson graduate, no matter the outcome of a football game or any sports event. Go Tigers! Courtney...CU '03 & '04

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  36. Thanks for this blog. It meant a lot. You were able to put in words what I feel.

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  37. Well said! Thank you for sharing. Class of 2004

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  38. There is absolutely something in those hills...Clemson will forever be home to me! Class of 2009

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  39. A cousin of my husband's shared this link on FB. And even though I'm not a Clemson alum, I love your post! You should submit it to your alumni magazine for publication because it is VERY well written and heartfelt!

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  40. I am a USC alum and fan, but this is one of the most beautiful blog posts I have ever read! I can see why you are so proud of your team and the university it represents. I am so glad you took the time to put this up, Jessica. Congratulations Tigers, on a great season!

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  41. Oh my word... exactly what I have been thinking... my heart hurt so bad for my Tigers, but man I sure do love them. And that special, wonderful place.

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  42. Very well written, thank you. I too am an alumni. And I LOVE LOVE the ice cream! My (Junior) daughter and I went for a campus tour and I was all over the milkshake!

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  43. What a perfect way to say what many of us were unable to verbalize to eloquently.

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  44. I'm not a Clemson fan- never have been, never will be. In fact, I'm a Gamecock and will be til the day I die. But my husband is a proud Clemson alum, and he posted this link to your blog on his Facebook, and I was compelled to read it. Your words are beautiful about your alma mater, and as a USC alum, I can feel your passion because I feel it about my University. The places and traditions may be different, but the same strong feelings reside in my heart. And as you said, regardless of whether orange and purple or garnet and black are your colors, we both have a lot to be proud of this season. Nasty comments are unnecessary from either side. There will always be jokes, as it is the nature of a rivalry- heck, we'll never live down 63-17 regardless of how bad Clemson lost on Wednesday night, but it's the nature of a rivalry....good fun, not being snide to one another because of our differences. Thank you for reminding us all, Gamecock and Tiger, that athletic programs are not what defines a school.

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  45. Jessica, you summed up exactly what it means to be a Tiger! I grew up near the university, went there, met my husband there and can't wait to go back each year. Our kids sing the chants and love the colors orange and purple. We are a family of Tigers and love everything that Clemson stands for. We are more than just an athletic program and our ROAR WILL ALWAYS ECHO! GO TIGERS!!

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  46. What a wonderful post! I come from a die hard Gamecock family but married a Clemson grad 16 years ago. I have fallen in love with Clemson. Even though I didn't go there reading your post really makes me wish I had.

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  47. I feel I have said these same words to people who ask why I still wear my Clemson colors. Which I hear a lot considering I work at UNC Chapel Hill hospital. I always tell them that while I perfer my team to win all the time Clemson means so much more to me! It is where I fell in love with my husband. It was that very campus where he first told me he loved me and I will never forget that feeling when I return to Clemson. You are so right about the feeling you get when you are on campus. It is one of great pride and I always stand a little taller when I say...."I went to Clemson and I am proud to be a Tiger!"

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  48. I was so blessed by your words. I am not an alumni, but have been a huge fan Clemson fan since I was old enough to know what Clemson University was. For me, it's a family tradition. I've had many family to go there, and many friends. No matter what colleges I attended, I've always been a tiger at heart and truly I bleed orange. This week has been tough, and I've been rather upset by comments that such people would make in regards to Clemson. I know not everyone is a fan, but people don't have to be so rude. Your post has truly lifted my spirits and it's so nice to know others feel as I do.

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  49. Even though I was only at Clemson for a brief two years. I still feel the same about the purple and orange. Even though the game was clearly over, I could not turn it off. I felt a need to be there with them to the end. I am proud to have tiger blood in me and there will always be a special place in my heart for the Tigers. Thank for sharing what so many people feel about that special place in the hills of SC.

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  50. Well said! And I am very proud of Coach Dabo and the dignity, integrity and sense of family he brings to the Tigers, Even if his team was 0-11, he is the kind of man I would want my sons to play for!

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  51. Love this! Nothing else needs be said!

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  52. Loved your post! I too have graduated from my school (USC) twice, and so when my niece, who by the way is a Clemson freshman, asked me to attend several games this fall I jumped at the chance. It didn't matter that while there my 2.5 year old yelled "Go Gamecocks" when her big cousin asked her "What do the Tigers say?". The crowd got a laugh, I blushed! I was there spending time with my precious niece and other family members! Glad to know that there are others like yourself that knows how to put things into perspective no matter what! When it comes to my family I can separate anything including my favorite team!

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  53. I am not a Clemson graduate. I was born a Clemson fan. My Daddy was a graduate of the classes of 1947 & 1948 or there about. That said, I feel the same about the University as I would if I had grown up at the base of the clock tower. Love your blog post.

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  54. Fantastic! Love how you put this. I grew up in Clemson as well as receiving a BA and MA there. It's home and family in so many ways. I'm following you now.

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  55. I like the post, and the meaning behind it. I did have a bit of a hard time reading it though because of the font you're using. And the comments are even harder to read since they're smaller.

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