Gratitude: Swinney's White House message has special meaning


by - Senior Writer -
Swinney (left) shakes the hand of President Donald Trump
Swinney (left) shakes the hand of President Donald Trump

Monday’s visit to the White House was all about gratitude.

National Champion Clemson visited Washington DC Monday evening to celebrate the Tigers’ thrilling victory over Alabama and the school’s second National Championship in three years. However, head coach Dabo Swinney used the occasion as an opportunity to remind us all to be grateful for what we have.

Swinney read from an IndyStar story written by Tyler Trent. Trent, the inspirational Purdue student who recently died at age 20, wrote two stories for IndyStar. Swinney read from the first, in which Trent detailed why he was grateful approaching Christmas.

“I want to close and I really want to give this perspective to our team, and really anyone who is listening, this is a quote, the whole college football world was captured by Tyler Trent," Swinney said. "He was the Purdue football fan that was battling cancer. Probably saw that, and he just passed recently. And here’s what he said, he put out a quote: 'Though I am in hospice care and have to wake up every morning knowing that the day might be my last, I still have a choice to make: to make that day the best it can be. Yet, isn’t that a choice we all have every day? After all, nobody knows the amount of days we have left. Some could say we are all in hospice to a certain degree. So why don’t we act like it.'

“‘So why don’t we act like it? Where is your gratitude? With Christmas coming up, what are you thankful for? I had to write my will recently, and I’m just thankful I can give my family Christmas presents, maybe even for one last time. Let’s not forget that my doctors gave me three months to live almost two-and-a-half months ago. So why can’t we live grateful lives? Why can’t we make every day count like it’s the last?’

“So for this team and all you guys moving on and even the guys coming back, that’s what I would say, is go live and be great today, in order for your someday to become reality, you just got to be your best today.”

President Donald Trump congratulated the Tigers on the win.

“You know, there are other teams with a lot of talent, and they’re watching us tonight on television,” Trump said to laughs. “They’re watching us and they’re saying, 'We’ll get ‘em next year.’ Thank you for inspiring our country. Congratulations again to the Clemson Tigers, one of the best teams in the history of college football.”

Swinney said he was appreciative of the chance to spend time in the nation’s first residence.

“It's cool that football can create an opportunity like this. I stand here before you as a guy from Pelham, Alabama, and I'm looking at these young people from all over this country,” Swinney said. “I have to look at my mom - I made the trip to Washington, D.C., on a train in 5th grade and she didn't have enough money to come with me. But here we are now all these years later and we are able to have a moment like this. Football matters. Football and the relationships through football created this opportunity and for that I am eternally grateful. It's about finding the joy in whatever you are doing."

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