As we are now a week out from the start of the Tigers 2020 season many fans are getting even more excited and anxious. This has been looked at by many as one of those years that Clemson should to win it all and a year that is a win it all or bust season.
There is something fans should keep in mind. You have to enjoy every minute of the ride or, in other words, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Because a ride like the one Head Coach Dabo Swinney and the Clemson football program are on doesn’t come along very often and this Clemson Fan has personally realized that more and more over the last few months and years.
For instance, it was only a few weeks back that Clemson fans across the world were hoping to see any football at all played this year and were concerned that they might not get the opportunity to watch Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and rest of the Tigers battle for the Tigers fourth national championship.
Then Clemson fans got the word they had been hoping for when they found out that there would be a season but it was not going to be a season like any other. Part of that came when it was made public that the SEC was going to play football but would not be playing any out of conference games. This meant the Palmetto Bowl, one of the longest running rivalry games, would not be played for the first time since 1909.
Another difference is it would be a shortened season and the Tigers would be playing 10 conference games and one out of conference game this season, instead of the usual 12 game regular season. Then you take into account that the Big10 and PAC12 decided not to play at all and that meant the matchup that many were expecting between Clemson and Ohio State in the playoff game was off of the table.
Then it was announced that the bands in the ACC would not be allowed to be on the field. This meant that the tradition of them meeting the team at the bottom of the hill was not going to be able to happen.
Dan Radakovich later announced though that the “Band That Shakes The Southland” would be in the stadium, on the hill, and they would greet the players who would be able to make their traditional trip around the stadium from the locker room, touch Howard’s rock, and run down the hill into Death Valley. A Death Valley that will see a lot less fans after Radakovich also announced that the capacity would be reduced to approximately 19,000 fans and there would be no large tailgating groups before or after the games.
As all of this has happened there have been those that have complained about the new rules, where the Tiger band will be located in Death Valley, how many fans will be allowed in the stadium, how many students get tickets, no tents, etc.
This year alone is going to be one that needs patience and will see many changes as teams, schools, and fans travel uncharted waters. 2020 alone has proven that you never know how long or when this ride could last. You have to enjoy every second. Life lessons teach you this over and over as time rolls on and there is no way around that.
Examples of this would be a granddaddy that taught you everything you know about Clemson not being here anymore to enjoy the wins and losses with. Or a close family member and fellow Tiger fan that was taken recently by Covid-19 that you won’t get to talk about the season with anymore. Or a Daddy that calls you to find out what the score is during and after the games but is having to stare down a major and very risky upcoming surgery two days after the Wake game.
Life throws us all different kinds of obstacles and that is what makes college football so awesome. Even though we are not guaranteed tomorrow, we can get into a game and not have to worry about everything around us for a few hours.
All too often fans begin to believe that is easier to get to the top than it really is and that can be a really slippery slope to be on.