I’ve written about how difficult it must be to live in the shadows of Clemson Football. As I surmised then, it’s got to be disheartening to be a have-not and make no mistake, Brad Brownell’s Clemson Tigers are definitely among the have-nots.
It’s life. It is what it is and no amount of wishing is going to change things much. Just look at Saturday night’s home loss to a bad Boston College team. A team that had not won on the road in almost two years.
I’ve chosen to write about Clemson Basketball because I’m a dreamer, I’m a believer in lost causes like St. Jude the Apostle and because I love it. I’m always looking for that preverbal corner in which this team will turn, to find fields of clover but they never quite appear. They turn that same corner to see only dusty, dry, baron fields ahead.
I believe in underdogs. I believe in miracles. I’m constantly looking for even the slightest glint of hope but I also believe in the reality of this situation. I guess it’s all because I’ve been conditioned as a long suffering Clemson Basketball fan. I know, I’m not the only one, I guess I’m just one the of many.
When I write an article, I do so in the hope and realistic expectation that my words are being read and decently received by a few. Usually, writing about Clemson Football is fun, uplifting. Writing about Clemson Basketball most days seems almost futile. I get it. However, I have to ask does anyone even care about Clemson Tiger Basketball?
I’m of the opinion that some only invest in that which yields dividends, and by investing in Clemson Basketball there are no dividends.
Is that the prevailing wisdom? Likewise, some investors take risks and speculate on future events. Knowing it will always come with risk, yes, it’s a gamble.
A part of me hopes shamelessly to illicit some response, any response. If you feel my assessment is cruel or unfair, give me a passion filled response. Show me and these young men that somebody cares. It might spark something special. It might show these players and this staff there’s is not a lost cause. Maybe, their efforts, regardless the outcome, matters. Yes, sadly, I’m just begging for an answer.
Is there not enough interest, enough passion, enough willingness to be engaged, just a little? The students, where are they? Unlike during my time as a student, there was nothing else to do but go to Littlejohn Coliseum and cheer for the Tigers. Life was simpler then and a little more acceptant of the struggles of the “other” sport.
As 18-22 year olds, few back then were expecting greatness in basketball. It was just there, and so were the students, supporting and loving Clemson Basketball. I’ll admit it was easier back then with Bill Foster and Cliff Ellis as coaches. They had marginal success but enough to keep fans engaged. There was at least a sense of fight, hope, energy.
Then, enter Rick Barnes. He changed everything and his teams showed fans glimpses of what it is like to be a winner. He took his rag-tag bunch to a Top-5 ranking. The fanbase was electrified.
Today, the electricity, for many fans, is gone. The main transformer is blown and this proud but inconsistent bunch is wandering around in the darkness.
I believe, Rick Barnes, had he remained at Clemson, would have achieved greatness for both himself and for Clemson Basketball. Oliver Purnell and Brad Brownell have had moments of brightness, a few sporadic NCAA Tournament invites and one Sweet Sixteen appearance but tournament success continues to elude this team.
There is a sad footnote to this basketball program’s trail of missed opportunities. I realize maybe the University cannot compete against other traditional basketball programs because of funding. There are some undeniable, unflattering realities within the Clemson Athletics Department, the money is made by the football program. Their success funds most other sport programs on campus. Therefore, the priority in the allocation of funds are spent in the only place it makes financial sense, football.
It could simply boil down to money. One day maybe there will be more resources to compete equally with basketball’s elite programs. Until that time, if ever, Clemson Basketball needs help. It needs butts in the seats in Littlejohn. It needs passionate, vocal lunatics, it needs a deep-pocketed benefactor to champion the cause of Tiger Basketball. It needs belief, it needs you and many others to be there to say, where the Blue Ridge yawns it’s greatness, where the Tigers play and help them believe as ‘Sons of dear old Clemson’ that greatness is there’s too.
I’ll end as I began, does Anyone really care about Clemson Basketball? Only you can answer that question.