A passionate Dabo Swinney says the game of football mirrors life


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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney loves the game of football
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney loves the game of football

ATLANTA, GA – There is no doubt that Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney loves his job, and one of the reasons he loves it so much is because he loves the game of football.

Swinney was in Atlanta last Thursday at the College Football Hall of Fame to see Clemson’s name etched on the MacArthur Bowl Trophy, and he said that football – maybe more so than any other sport – brings people together.

“That’s the game of football. I’ve seen it time and time again,” Swinney to a crowd of dignitaries and Clemson supporters.

Swinney isn’t known for holding back, and he became animated and passionate when telling the crowd that football is a good influence on the youth of America.

“There’s a lot of things out there in society I don’t think are a positive influence on young people, but the game of football is still a positive influence. It’s hard work. It’s just hard work,” Swinney said. “The one thing that hasn’t changed about football — styles of play come and go — but it is still hard work. It’s a tremendous commitment. It teaches young people to work ethic. It teaches young people sacrifice and courage and how to win and lose. It teaches young people how to get along with somebody they may not like, but we’ve got a job to get done. It teaches young people how to handle adversity. To me, the game of football mirrors life like nothing else.”

He took it step further when he said that football brings people from different cultural or socio-economic backgrounds together.

“You go to Tuscaloosa, you go to Clemson and you see all these fans, when the Tigers score, they’re high-fiving and hugging,” Swinney said. “A lot of those people Monday through Friday, because they’ve got different political beliefs or religions or neighborhood or checking accounts, they probably walk right by each other. But a football game breaks out, and they’re inviting each other to the tailgate. They’re high-fiving. It’s powerful."

Swinney told a story about how football acts as an escape for people who are battling sickness.

“I got a letter from a lady going through cancer, and I read it to the team,” he said. “She was talking about all the chemo treatments she had been through. This letter, this lady says, ‘Coach, I’ve been through all these chemo treatments, but the best chemo I’ve had yet is those three or four hours I get to see the Tigers play.’ And you tell me football doesn’t matter?"

The brotherhood that is created lasts long after their playing days are over.

“I’ve seen guys stand up for each other at their weddings,” Swinney said. “I’ve seen guys be pallbearers at funerals. I’ve seen teammates be there for a friend when their wife leaves them. The game of football creates a brotherhood, a work ethic, a skill set.”

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