My Love Letter to the Clemson Family

Clemson stadium hands off

Dear Clemson Family,

I am so proud to be a part of this family. At the young age of 18, I had no idea what an extended family I was entering into when an acceptance letter came to my parent’s house. This family has a unique bond that other colleges just don’t offer. Regardless if you graduated from Clemson or have spent your life cheering for your Tigers, you are a part of this family.

Clemson is the only place I know that would come together 70,000 strong to not only support the team who won the National Championship but to also honor those who came before that winning team. In true Clemson fashion, you came out with your orange and cheered on the 1981 National Championship team and other alumni players as if they were the ones who had thrown the winning touchdown. And in a way, they did throw it because you realize that each Tiger who had come before this team laid the foundation for this win.

1981 Clemson National Championship Ring Photo taken by one of my awesome friends
1981 Clemson National Championship Ring
Photo by one of my awesome friends

But this one day doesn’t show what a strong family we are. When we lost to Alabama during the 2015 National Championship, around 3,000 fans showed up on a cold night to welcome you home. This family supports each no matter the score because we know the importance of being there for each other. We do not believe in tearing each other down; instead, we want to inspire and lift each other up.

Watson and Boulware in the parade
Watson and Boulware in the parade

We even take this motto of not tearing others down and apply it to opposing teams. Sure we scream and cheer loud enough for the opposing team to not hear the play clock, even at away stadiums, but we do not put down other teams or their fans. We shake the opposing team’s hand and welcome them to Clemson. We tell them about our unique traditions, like stamping two dollar bills or running down the hill, and offer to buy them a beer at the local iconic spots like the Esso Club or Tiger Town Tavern. Of course, we engage in friendly banter, but if another team beats the Tigers, we pat those fans on the back and say, “Good game.”

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A part of National Championship celebration crowd in Death Valley

People sitting at home watching Clemson football see fanatics who storm the field after each game, but what they don’t see is the love and support that continues on well beyond the football field. Dabo has managed to have large graduating classes, and it is clear this team loves each other. That love extends beyond the field. The fans and students love this family. More than once have I seen perfect strangers be invited to tailgates or be given free football tickets.

Clemson parade 2

So thank you for being such a wonderful, supportive family. Every day when I look down at my Clemson ring, I feel a sense of pride, knowing that I belong to one of the best extended families a girl could ask for. Linebacker Ben Boulware once said, “You supported us through thick and thin and we are forever grateful for your support.” And he was right. I will forever be grateful for the support of my Clemson family.

Love and Go Tigers!

 

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