09 August 2011

Link Up: Tells Us About Your Favorite Football Team

I linked up with Running Down a Dream for her "Show Us Your Football Team" linkup. How could I resist an opportunity to talk about my Clemson Tigers? 

I didn't attend Clemson because I was a dumb high school student who couldn't have cared less about my grades at the time. I was in it for the social game. I would have loved to go there, but I didn't even bother submitting an application because I knew I wouldn't be accepted. Anyway, both of my parents went there, and I grew up cheering for Clemson from the outside of my TV screen. We never attended an actual game, but I just KNOW they must be amazing.

And, lemme tell ya... THEY ARE!

I'm not really sure exactly when or why, but my love for CU grew deeper after high school. I even braved the needle for a Tiger paw tattoo on my hip. It's the only one I have, and it will probably be the only one I'll ever get. And, I'm definitely that "yell-at-the-screen, ruin-my-day, curse-at-the-ref" type of fan. I live, eat, and breathe Clemson football. I used to work for a real estate company and had to work on Saturdays, but my boss was kind enough to put a small TV in my office so that I could watch the games. That's one spectacular boss!

If you know anything at all about Clemson, you probably know their rivals are the South Carolina Gamecocks. Let me give you some background:
  • The rivalry is often referred to as the "Battle of the Palmetto State"
  • It is the longest uninterrupted series in the South & the second largest uninterrupted series overall.
  • Both universities maintain stadiums that seat 80,000+ each, placing both in the top 18 in the country.
  • Clemson holds a 65-39-4 lead in the series, as of now.
  • The game alternates between home stadiums for the last game of the regular season every year.

The famous CU/USC brawl in 2004
Clemson was winning 29-7 with 5:56 left in the quarter when a fight broke out resulting in both teams being unable to participate in bowl games that year.

Clemson Traditions

Clemson Memorial Stadium is referred to as DEATH VALLEY. It was given this name by Lonnie McMillian, a former coach at Presbyterian, because his players always got "killed" when they played Clemson. The legendary Frank Howard began referring to the stadium as Death Valley in the 60s, and the name caught on quickly. It's now in its 54th year.

Before each game, all of the players can be seen RUNNING DOWN THE HILL. It's been described as "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football".

Players getting ready to run down the hill before a game.

When the team gathers at the top of the hill prior to their entrance on the field, they rub HOWARD'S ROCK. A player stopped in Death Valley, California at some point, picked up a white flint rock, and gave it to Coach Howard. In the 60s, when the DEATH VALLEY name caught on, they placed the rock on a pedestal at the top of the hill. 

"The team members started rubbing the rock prior to running down the hill September 23, 1967, a day when Clemson defeated Wake Forest, 23-6. Prior to running down the hill, Howard told his players: 'If you're going to give me 110%, you can rub that rock. If you're not, keep your filthy hands off it.' Howard spoke of the incident the next day, on his Sunday television show, and and the story became legend." - Wikipedia

James Davis


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