|Monday, April 8, 2013, 10:43 AM- -|
I think I am unique when it comes to my sports teams. For years, I was not a NASCAR fan, I was a Dale Earnhardt fan. I couldn't pull for other drivers or one manufacturer over another. I just liked Earnhardt.
I love the New York Yankees. I am a Yankee fan and not Major League Baseball fan. I don't have a favorite National League team and a favorite American League team. In fact, in most years when the Yankees are not in the World Series I usually don't watch it.
The same can be said for my college favorites. I love Clemson. I don't watch any other college baseball but try to not miss a Clemson baseball game. I would never dream of going to see another team play volleyball or soccer but have seen more than my fair share of Tiger matches. Indoor track is something I would not dream of any where but Clemson.
With that said I have watched a couple of teams in college basketball that I have grown fond of the last few seasons. First, I must admit that I am not a huge college basketball fan. I watch 30 Clemson games each year but probably don't watch 30 other full games each year. However, when I find a great product that I can relate to then I get hooked.
This NCAA tournament had me screaming at my television set pulling for Wichita State. For five games I felt like I was a Shocker. I have no idea what a Wheat Shocker actually is but that is what I felt like. Gregg Marshall's squad reminded me of another team I have grown fond of and that is Shaka Smart's bunch at Virginia Commonwealth.
Shaka is a friend of mine that I got close to while he was here at Clemson, so it was easy to start following his career at VCU. But I noticed something different about his teams that made me want to pull for them even if I didn't know Shaka. I simply love how hard his team plays.
Gregg Marshall and Shaka Smart have ties to this state so we probably knew more about them than the rest of the country, but I think the nation has fallen in love with what they see out of both squads.
Most of us sports fans love the underdog but it goes farther than that. We love hard working teams. We love the gladiator mentality. We love warriors who think of their sport like they are going into battle. We love tenacity.
I wrote a couple of years ago that I was envious of Virginia Tech football program. The Hokies were a physical team that showcased toughness that helped them win at least ten games a year for a decade. Since I wrote that blog, Clemson is 3-0 against Virginia Tech and none of the three games were close.
A few weeks ago I said I did not care to become the next one-hit wonder like Florida Gulf Coast but the Shockers and Rams are a different story. Now I have turned to Wichita State and Virginia Commonwealth because I think they both can have long term success. I also would love to be so proud of my team's mentality and toughness.
I also wrote a few weeks ago about how the Chic-fil-a Bowl win over LSU could be a game-changer because of the toughness the Tigers showed in that game. In my opinion
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Hopefully Boyd's attitude is what Clemson football is all about.
Maybe it was Devin Booker and Milton Jennings' laid back attitude that rubbed some the wrong way but hopefully the next Demontez Stitt is waiting to put toughness back in Clemson basketball.
In Clemson baseball I think of the examples set by players like Jason Dawsey who was defined more by grit than talent. Hopefully this freshman class can take on that identity.
Talent certainly wins games but tenacity is something all fans can rally behind. I know I would feel better about pulling for my teams that had that type of mentality.
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