Just got home a while ago, and wanted to throw in my thoughts on last night. I haven't read any of the rest of the board so as not to dilute or digress my thoughts, so forgive if some of this has been discussed to the nth degree.
We get season tixs but the last Home game we got to was Wake last year (made the Miami game at the Orange Bowl last year, too - - what a game). Because of all I have read (and seen - Thanks, Shoeless and others) on here in the last 12 months, I was incredibly anxious to see the great additions to the stadium, get a sense of the crowd (and dare somebody to tell me to sit down), see the uniforms in person, in short - incredibly anxious to get HOME. Here's what I brought back with me - in no particular order - A ringing in my ears. At 3 am this morning I still couldn't fall asleep. The nervous, adrenaline rush was long since gone. The going over the "what if's" & "how comes" had finally settled to the back of my consciousness. But like hearing your heart beat when you're laying on your pillow wrong, there was a ringing in my ears that seemed like I must have been landing jets all day long without earplugs in. I tried to sleep on the plane ride back today, but it was still there, and only slightly less noticable. For the younger set on here - - Don't let anyone kid you about how loud The Valley USED to be - before they added upper decks, or in the glory years of the '80's, etc. I was there for all that, and in my mind, Death Valley has NEVER been louder than the last defensive stand in regulation that got us the ball back for the tying score. IT WAS AMAZING !!! A sense of security that our University is in good hands. President Barker is involved, and wants the best for our school, and understands completely that the athletic department plays a vital role in furthering the cause. His video clip in the stadium for women's volleyball was great. Could you have imagined Max Lennon doing a video clip for ANY athletic event? Tommy Bowden has all that it takes to establish a Florida State style dynasty at Clemson. For those that say he is aloof, or arrogant, or doesn't seem to "fit" into the Clemson family because he doesn't bleed orange - then you didn't see him on both knees in the center of the field on the Paw with his head in his hands as miami celebrated the interception at the 15 yard line. He is passionate, sincere, dedicated, and has his priorities in the right order. Second guessing is fine, frustrated at times is OK, but, in my opinion, he is the right guy for a long time. Tiger Band was fantastic. We went to the concert in the ampitheater (which I think is 1 1/2 hours before kickoff? - it was at 2pm yesterday). It was perfect - sitting under the shade of one of the big oaks, watching the fountains in front of the library, endless blue skies, and TIGER RAG LIVE! The band director told a bit about what would be going on at halftime, introducing each piece that would be played, Tiger Rag & the standards, plus going over the different cheers - 1st down, Defense rage, etc. I like the added old intro to the Alma Mater. The band seems to be growing, and they sounded great, and were totally into the game until the bitter end - about 5 1/2 hours of playing if you count the concert. The changes to the stadium, the use of the video screen (no loud, blaring commercials), the WestZone, the National Anthem on the screen showing photos of Clemson's military past and present, the whole gameday experience - - Holy Cow - - I've never gotten a better sense of The Clemson Experience than I did yesterday. We have the right people in the right places. A sense of urgency. Somehow, someway I gotta get back next week, cause I'm gonna need another fix BAD. An understanding of the difference ONE SECOND can make. If Charlie had one more second of protection, we would have won the game in regulation on the pass to Chansi. That the uniforms look much better in person. That TV does NO, absolutely NO justice to the Valley of Orange - not the crowd shots, not the blimp overheads - nothing. It transcends all description and media options. A deep sense of gratitude that the people around our seats are fantastic, die hard, Clemson people. Section G, rows R,S,T and up - you can stand up, you can sit down, you can pace in the aisle/steps - they all get the reason we are there. They are old, they are very young, some are alums and some aren't, they are who they are and they were there to support Clemson. It was perfect. And lastly, a deep sense of being undeservedly blessed that 57 years ago my father decided to be the first one in his family to get his college degree from a little place called Clemson A&M. And he was so formed by that place that somehow he got through to me to go feel it for myself . . . I've had that feeling ever since, but it got seriously recharged yesterday. There's just something in those hills