Friday, January 6, 2012

Tiger Pride

For most people who live in South Carolina, there are only 2 college football teams that are important  - Clemson and the University of South Carolina (referred to as USC by South Carolinians but not to be confused with the USC in California). If you live in SC, you are expected to cheer for one and despise the other. Most people outside of South Carolina have probably not even heard of either school, or if they have, they don't have a strong preference for either. That's okay and completely understandable.

On Wednesday of this week, Clemson had the opportunity to play in the Orange Bowl. Sadly, Clemson was routed by a dominant West Virginia team. I've had this post swirling around in my brain for the past two days, while I've read posts on Facebook from USC fans ridiculing Clemson fans and from Clemson fans who have actually written that they are embarrassed to be Clemson fans.

Here are my feelings on the subject:
I am a Clemson fan. But I'm not only a fan of a football team. I am a fan of a university, of a tradition, of a part of my history. You see, I am a Clemson alumna.

Clemson is more than a football team. Clemson is a university with a strong military and agricultural tradition. There are some who find that agricultural background a source of mockery. I don't understand that; South Carolina and the entire Southeastern United States have their roots in agriculture. Is this something to be ashamed of? I don't think so. That military and agricultural background have grown into an outstanding educational institution with a standard of excellence.

Clemson is more than a football team. Clemson is where I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I also got my certification in Learning Disabilities through my classes there. With that education, I taught in the classroom for 7 years. For the past 9 years, I've been educating my children at home.

Clemson is more than a football team. Clemson is where I met my husband during my senior year. Robb also graduated from Clemson with a degree in electrical engineering. We have had a wonderful marriage for the past 15 and 1/2 years with plans for many happy years to come. We have 5 incredible children, and I couldn't imagine my life without any of them.

Clemson is more than a football team. When I say that I am proud to be a Tiger, it runs much deeper than a football team and definitely much deeper than a single game or even a season. I am proud to have been a part of something bigger than that. Clemson is a part of my life. My love for Clemson will be there whether the football team wins or loses. Would I like them to win? Of course. Will I be embarrassed to be a Tiger if they lose? NEVER!

I have always been, am now, and will always be - Proud to be a Tiger!
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