Clemson Football: Sunday Morning Armchair Perspective, The Storm and the Light

The morning after a severe storm is always tough. The distance from the event often times offers a less emotional perspective of what happened.

Normally, the better angels of our nature allows for reflection, rationalizations and rebooting while searching for a light. It’s how people cope.

After another frustrating game, Clemson fans, even the most devoted, ardent among us are concerned. As I remember, Kirk Herbstreet’s comments from 2015 where he said Clemson possessed an “embarrassment of riches.” It was true, it still is.

That seems like a lifetime ago and on paper, the riches are technically still there. However, the most frustrating thing for most of the Tiger faithful, things, figuratively speaking, seems dormant, almost dead. Now, this team is viewed by some as an embarrassment, not me. Disappointment yes. Embarrassment, never.

The talent is there, the coaching staff is there. If fans put down the Tiger Paw Flag for a moment, they’d see just how difficult this season has truly been. I’m not trying to be humorous nor cruel but recognition of the current misery in the on field performance is the first step in moving forward, it’s imperative.

The fanbase is absolutely justified in their concern and deep frustration. The term “to much is given, much is expected” comes to mind as I write. This can be said of the players, the fans and especially the coaches. Much indeed has been given to all. So, is it unreasonable to expect, something?

Is the entire fanbase spoiled? Sure but even those that claim others are ungrateful brats, deep down, even the mightiest, the “real fans” are a tad bit spoiled as well. It’s one of the unfortunate consequences of loving something so much it hurts. It’s not pretty being spoiled, but difficulties brings strange manifestations.

Seemingly overnight, the Clemson Tigers have gone from the toast of the town to the brunt of every joke in almost every conversation concerning college football. It’s painful, it’s humiliating and to make it worse, it’s true. Truth hurts but it’s necessary. That truth, that hurt is real but ironically, it’s the way out of this mess. Pain and dissatisfaction is a great motivator.

To acknowledge that “you’re only as good as your last outing” is tough but past greatness breeds such feelings, it’s complicated. Imperfect, reactionary fans and even the realistic fans are feeling somewhat disillusioned by the on the field antics, so are the members of this team. Fun ceased to exist somewhere along this pothole strewn path they’re on.

This program is at a real crossroads and can go down several paths. Which path is right, which is wrong? It doesn’t matter, really. Going back nor forward on the same path isn’t prudent. The leadership of this team has to choose a different road. An unfamiliar, uncharted, uncomfortable choice but it’s a choice that has to be made.

This isn’t a cryptic statement intended to imply “somebody needs to be fired.” That’s absurd, but somebody needs to be honest, not paying the obligatory lip service of accountability but rather a true heartfelt expression to themselves and to the young men they have pledge and devoted their career’s to lead.

Sadly, collectively, this appears to be a broken group of young men. Tough teams face tough times, that’s inevitable. It’s how you handle those times that defines who you are and where you’re going. That is more important than the number of wins and losses, more than rankings and adoration, it’s the only way out of this mire.

This isn’t surrender, this isn’t quitting on these people we love and care for deeply and have given so much. It’s about blind faith, its about trust, it’s about class and it’s about believing in something we cannot see but know it’s there. Like the wind, we cant actually see it but we feel it.

This Sunday morning, it’s imperative, that anyone involved in this proud institution, must abandon the stark, divisive “black and white” short view and focus and view the program in the light-grey toned, long term view. Failure to do so, only hurts everyone.

Yes, it’s a dark early Sunday morning and I suspect it won’t be the last of this 2021 season. Sure there’s been small improvements but nowhere near what’s needed to face the remainder of this season. No game, no outcome is assured at this point. These are weird times but it’s where the Tigers are at this moment. In taking the long view, it’s imperative to live in the moment, regardless of how distasteful the moment is.

Here is where the hope lies. Clemson people are tough people and nothing will ever change that fact. I’m not going to sugarcoat the situation, it is what is but take heart, even through the darkness of the moment, if you look on the horizon, there’s light.

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