|Monday, January 11, 2016, 7:32 AM- -|
I have seen a lot in my time. Heck when you get this old, all you have to do is pay attention and you would have seen a lot.
I remember the 1981 season. I remember beating the defending national champions Georgia that year 13-3. The Bulldogs couldn't stop turning it over and the Tigers defense could stop any offense that day.
I didn't get to go to the Tulane game and had to listen to that nail biter that season, but remember my dad telling me stories of watching Clemson punter Dale Hatcher hitting the scoreboard in the Superdome.
I remember Clemson climbing in the polls every week. We didn't have the internet so I had to wait for WIS-Radio in Columbia to tell me where Clemson climbed to each week. My dad would take me to school and I had to wait in his El Camino to hear the news before I got out to go to school.
I remember the oranges being thrown on the field in Williams-Brice and watching them hit the hard turf and roll 50 yards on the artificial surface. I remember the blocked punt that helped Clemson beat the arch rival that day.
I remember the days leading up to the Orange Bowl and the days after. Euphoria had set it. No one around these parts had ever seen anything like it.
But in my 47 years, I have never seen anything like what I have witnessed this year.
I have never been to a horse race the day of a Clemson game, but since we were in Louisville, I was glad to go to Churchill Downs.
The rain at Notre Dame that looked like Vietnam rain in Forrest Gump.
My eyes have seen huge stops on fourth down. The two point conversion stop against the Irish. The third and short and fourth and short stop against FSU. The fourth down stop and fake punt against Oklahoma. Yeah, I have never seen anything like this.
But it is the little things I will remember from this season. I will always remember this journey. The sight of over 30,000 Tiger fans turning Williams-Brice orange. More than 50,000 showing up in Charlotte. More than 40,000 in Miami.
I will remember Clemson Island, and BYOG, and the dancing in the locker rooms. I will remember the videos of Deshaun Watson being welcomed by the New York Clemson Club in Manhattan for the Heisman Trophy festivities.
I will remember the thousands of Clemson fans in airports in Charleston, Atlanta, New York, Tampa, Syracuse, Ft. Lauderdale, Dallas and Denver. Even had to deboard two airplanes. The tens of thousands of car flags flying as I made my way through South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida.
I will never forget the site of Clemson fans taking over Las Vegas this past weekend or seeing Tiger fans everywhere at the Hoover Dam.
This journey has given us memories of fans greeting the team coming home after victories, but I will always remember Friday where I went out with a few thousand of my family to see the boys off from the West Endzone. Until now I have never seen hundreds of fans on bridges and overpasses waving to busses as the team headed to the airport.
My bank ran out of money Friday. Not all of the money, but they ran out of the $6,000 dollars they had in $2 bills. I had never seen that before.
This journey will be over tonight and my eyes have seen so much.
I have said many times in this space how I could never repay Clemson for what she has given me. She gave me this journey, this year. This journey is one that I will never forget.
But here is the good news. This is not the final journey. Dabo says the best is yet to come. My eyes will be open. I can't wait to see what I will see in the next one.
The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency
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