What To Expect At A Clemson Game
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What To Expect At A Clemson Game

I didn't know what living was until I stepped into Death Valley.

What To Expect At A Clemson Game

November 26th, 2016, I experienced my very first Clemson game.

I had been to Clemson several times before as my older sister attended the university, and ever since then, I had become intrigued by the energy that that part of the upstate had to offer. I was taught that to be a Clemson tiger meant to have the lifestyle of orange and purple. Everything a tiger lives and breathes is associated with the university, especially football season.

So if you've never experienced what it is like to be a witness to the madness that is Saturday game night, here is what to expect.

Let me a paint a picture for you:

The drive to Clemson had greeted you happily with orange painted tiger paws on the interstate. SUV's weaved in and of lanes displaying their Clemson flags proudly. Once you arrived in Tiger-Town, you admired the MetLife blimp that hovered over the stadium and then found your parking spot, feeling sorry for the fans who parked miles away and endured the walk to the field. Tailgaters lined the streets with their orange and purple lights illuminating their dips and chicken wings and watched the pregame show on their flat screens in the beds of their trucks.

The walk to Death Valley was unexpectedly shorter than you thought it would be. Between weaving your way through the small paths around the field and avoiding the tipsy football fans, you ended up at the front gate of the stadium within minutes. It was 80 minutes before kick off and Memorial Stadium was crawling with crazed orange and purple. The smell of popcorn, hot chocolate and Papa Johns pizza filled the air.

Purple and orange peek at you in-between cement columns as you approach the opening into the stadium seats. Music consumes the surrounding area as the sound waves rush all around you. You inhale a deep breath and intake the night sky being illuminated by the stadium lights. As you make your way down the cement steps to row Z in section E of Memorial Stadium, you begin to stir with excitement as you see the "terrible towels" around you laid upon each and every seat. The towel's bright orange background and glistening white tiger paw peer back up at you just waiting for you to take a hold of it and wave it around in the air.

As you take your seat on the cold bleacher, the last thing you can think of is the dropping temperature. It is now 70 minutes before Howard Rock is embraced and you watch intensively as the players warm up on the field. You look with determination at all the jersey numbers and last names of the players who are catching every spiral thrown their away and stretching every ligament possible to assure a safe game.

Before you know it, the Tigers have now boarded the Charter buses outside of the stadium and are making their way to the front entrance of Death Valley. The band has taken over the field in a rush of orange and purple in a blur of brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. The rawr of the famed mascot overwhelms the speakers as Coach Dabo Swinney explodes onto the field and speeds into the yard lines, his Tigers in all orange darting behind him. The familiar chants fill the voices of the fans around you as the Tigers flee through the field and onto the sidelines.

With kickoff seconds away, the football anthem "We Too Deep" escalates throughout the stadium as the student section comes to life. You can feel the energy deep in your bones as you watch the players on the field jump off of their feet in the midst of the hype. Without realizing it, you are dancing too along with the 81,000 fans around you.

As the anthem drifts away and the voices of the fans increases, kick off has begun and the seconds are now ticking on the first quarter. You are now given a chance to get to know the people around you.

You have the couple that is behind you are Clemson alumni and are proud of it. They have not missed a home game since 1999 and will proudly tell you. They will warn you that with every touch down achieved, they will embrace you with full hugs as if you were family. Then you have the couple of college students next to you who have never been to Death Valley before nor are they Clemson students. They will get up consistently throughout the game to explore the concession stands. One might even stumble a bit as he climbs over you to get out, but don't worry! You're now apart of the Tiger family as well as him, and when we fall, we help each other back up with no judgement.

Second quarter has come and gone and you are now on your second round of popcorn, sipping on a cherry coke while being serenaded by the Tiger Band at half time. As the band finds their spot in the bleachers once more, Juju on the Beat rings throughout the stadium and everyone jumps to their feet and makes a fool of themselves trying to mimic the crazed dance. Before you know it, the Tigers have taken the field once more and third quarter has begun.

This is just a tiny glimpse that is the excitement of being a Clemson fan in the midst of the biggest game of the season. What is on the scoreboard is just minor detail compared to the experience that is spending a few hours in Death Valley.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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