I’m sure that title will give some the impression this is yet another “Bash the Tigers” article but no, it isn’t. It’s intention is to help those that continue to find try to search for remedies, cures for some things, at this point, that can’t be fixed.
Has this 2021 season had anything positive to build upon? That moment, in future seasons, one can point to and say, “this season’s success was born in the depths of despair, in 2021.” I believe that is best way to view this season, as a catalyst for future success.
I think, each fan should remember that no one inside (or outside) this program will soon forget the feeling, the turmoil, the pain that has surfaced as a result of this season’s inability to live up to expectations. Disappointment has obviously become the defining theme of this year’s team. However, the only way this program can ultimately fail is to not learn from all the challenges of this season.
While success and/or failure is always linked to the won/loss records, we owe it to ourselves and we especially owe this team and these coaches a little more levity than this. It’s as if their past records don’t exists, past successes aren’t acknowledged and the past greatness of this program completely ignored, or worse, forgotten. I’m not suggesting they should just rest on their laurels, live off the efforts of others, that would be ridiculous. As supporters of a team, led by this human dynamo, Dabo Swinney, everyone knows better.
The problems that have surfaced this season can be directly traced back to the enormous success of this programs. Generational talent that hid many flaws, the belief by fans, “this is the way it’s always going to be” and ignoring the obvious “check engine” light in Dabo’s windshield mentality. Now, thanks to this tumultuous season, the mask is off, the proper diagnosis and treatment can begin and by force, check the engine that drives this still great machine.
Sticking with the racing metaphor, this team isn’t in need of a pit stop, to change a few tires and gas up. No, it needs to be taken to the shop, put on the lift and find out the real problems and fix them. That has to be done and to expect greatness, on the field, at this point in the season, might be futile. The best short term remedy for the fans is best found in acceptance. Not just of poor play but of where things truly stand and to not delude themselves and believe what is seen isn’t really happening. Acceptance is the last stage of grief and it’s not being silly in saying what this program, especially the fans, have been through is grief.
Sadly, no deep breath or chill pill is going to fix anything, it’s just things we, as humans, feel we must do. If doing so makes a difference in your well being then by all means do it. It can’t hurt. However, do so in the knowledge it won’t fix anything within in this program in this year. To quote Tony Elliott, “it is what it is.”
This isn’t intended as gloom and doom but rather as hopeful. Hope in the future and rest assured, there is plenty to be hopeful about. When the final whistle blows, bringing this difficult reckoning to an end, all will be focused on next year. That’s where the real benefits of the lessons learned will be seen. Then we’ll understand the how’s and why’s of what is seen today and know, it was all worth it. The future, thanks to this 2021 edition of the Clemson Tigers, is bright.
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