Different People, Different Perspectives, Same Clemson Family

This article is not meant to sound preachy, it’s meant as a conversation starter. Over this past week and possibly the next several weeks, most folks nerves and patience are now, or will become, worn to a frazzle. As a proud member of the Clemson Family, this is my attempt to start a reasonable conversation.

I believe tough times, while painful, breeds a stronger unit, program and family. It’s important during this time of immense change to understand the how’s and why’s of differing opinions and differing perspectives of those within the Clemson family. With the events of the last several days and most probably the upcoming weeks, it would do well to accept that every single human being has their own opinion, their own feelings. That’s what this and other forums on social media affords us.

Opinions, like personalities, are as varied and as unique as a snowflake and all should be allowed within the Big Orange Tent of the Clemson Family. I suspect opinions are formed by who we are and what we perceive as important. Life experiences, upbringing and our exposure to the world around effects each of us. Right, wrong or indifferent, each has such a right.

So, when a person expresses an opinion, unpopular as it may be, remember, it’s most likely a momentary reaction, frustration expressed. After the initial shock of the event, most can be rational and find their way back to reason. In a world so serious and difficult, Clemson Football is a passion, an escape, a joy. It’s a part of our being. One doesn’t need to have attended, nor graduated from Clemson to feel a sense of belonging, loyalty and devotion. There’s just something about this place, in these hills.

When we as a fanbase, a family, have become so intolerant of any opinion that’s not aligned with our own, some attack, belittle and question others intentions, and that’s a problem.

Some threads seen on social media are angry, terse and down right nasty. I have to believe this is brought on by the times our programs finds itself in. So, why do some get so angry at comments, momentary concerns, moans and bellyaching of another? To some, it’s a coping mechanism. I suspect its because other’s concerns, complaints and bellyaching touch a spot within them, that’s buried deep and maybe because they too may have a hint of the same concern, who knows?

Dabo Swinney is a good and decent man. A great leader and an exemplary coach. I love and respect the way he loves Clemson and everything he stands for. However, he is just a man and would never want to be worshipped. Respected, yes. But worshipped, never. He’d be the first to balk at such things. He is human, he’s not a person that expects fans to follow in mass blindly, all while pledging their “All In” allegiance. That sounds way too devout and a little too pious. I’m a little uncomfortable with that and suspect it would be, as a man of faith, an anathema to Swinney.

Some of those that voiced their complaints and concerns regarding this years team’s inconsistent, hesitant offense are now seeing that their voices and their displeasure were indeed heard. Change, good or bad, is happening. So, whenever someone says something you vehemently disagree with, state your opinion reasonably, without questioning the sanity or worthiness of the other person being a “true” Tiger fan. There’s no greater insult, nothing more incendiary than to doubt someone’s loyalty to a cause, especially to Clemson. We have no idea their relationship with Clemson, it might be 60 years or 60 days, all are equal in my eyes.

There’s enough external noise surrounding Clemson these days. The program is again under the glaring spotlight of the national media and fans don’t need to add anymore with infighting. Yes everyone is different, we’re all guilty of making silly comments but no one has the right to personally attack another for something as trivial as a difference of opinion about football, life is hard enough. Try a little tolerance, a bit of kindness, a touch of understanding towards one another. It all a part of being a family. The Clemson Family.

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