Friday, August 29, 2008
Why Yes, I Did Realize I Was Wearing Orange Pants.
It's that time of year again, kids. Football season. I know that NFL preseason games have been going on for weeks now, but I don't really follow pro ball. While professional players may be more talented and well-versed in the game, I think a lot of them lack heart. Don't get me wrong, if I was making a ridiculous amount of money per year to play a game that eight-year-old boys play for fun, I would be a bit more careful about taking those big risks as well. Luckily, I'm a salesman, and rarely have to concern myself with being tackled. I think the day that being tackled becomes a major concern of mine is the day that I start seeking employment elsewhere.
College football started tonight, and I just got finished watching the University of South Carolina Gamecocks come from a dismal first half to really redeem themselves in the second half and shut out the NC State Wolfpack. This was a tough game for me, and I'll explain why. As a lifelong Clemson fan, USC has been my bitter rival since I was born. North Carolina State is an Atlantic Coast Conference team, and so is Clemson. Common sense dictates that I should have been pulling for the Wolfpack tonight. This is where it gets tricky.
When I was still living in the upstate of South Carolina, I was surrounded by Clemson fans for the most part. There would have been no question, I would have been pulling against USC with every fiber of my being. Now I live in Columbia, in the heart of Gamecock country. My girlfriend is a die-hard Gamecock fan. My roommate is a die-hard Gamecock fan. Through my old job at the Village Idiot, I actually became friends with several members of USC's offensive line. So I've made a compromise. Unless USC is playing against Clemson, I am trying to look upon them in a more favorable light. Make no mistake, though. Come the last Saturday in November, all bets are off.
Now that that's out of the way, I'm ready for what my heart says is truly the start of football season: 8:00 PM Saturday night, my Clemson Tigers face off against Alabama's Crimson Tide in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Unfortunately I can't make it to the opener this year and that sucks, but I will be firmly planted on my couch, beer easily within reach by the time kickoff rolls around. In fact, I'll probably be blaring the Tiger Rag all the way home from work.
It's not just about the football, though. It's about the entire experience. Going up to Greenville on a Friday night, staying up drinking and catching up with old friends until the wee hours of the morning, only to wake up bleary-eyed and heavy-headed at the crack of dawn, coolers packed and ready to go so we can get into Clemson and claim a premium tailgating spot. The near-military precision that my tailgating crew gets everything set up in under ten minutes and the first beer is cracked with fifteen (this is no small feat, either. We take tailgating very seriously. I even have a tailgating checklist set up in Excel to be sure nothing is forgotten.) Seeing very close friends that I haven't seen since the end of last football season. Sure, we always promise to get together in the off-season, saying this year will be different and we know we can make time. Knowing that Chip just shipped off to Iraq and won't be around in person this year, so we'll have to drink with him in spirit. Getting circled up to cannonball our Boone's Farm, knowing that it's a terrible idea, but doing it anyway because it's tradition, damnit! Eating fried chicken, pimento cheese sandwiches, and an assortment of snack food all day to keep our appetites at bay and balance out the superhuman amounts of beer that are consumed. And then...game time.
"The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football"
I hope you all enjoy football season as much as I'm going to!