Scott Rhymer: Strike Up The Orange Bowl March

by - Correspondent -

It’s finally time.

Game week provides a true Tuesday press conference. Coach Tommy Bowden sits down in front of a splendid picture of Death Valley with cameras and microphones peering at him. He answers questions, many of them dripping with clichés that in some cases have been asked of him 1000 times prior. He does it with a smile, a bit of wit, not much candor, and a keen sense of not saying anything near controversial so as not to rouse the opponent.

It’s finally time.

For the first time in a long while, the weekend weather means something. Weathermen, our good friend Dale Gilbert included, have the best job in the world. They stand in front of a green screen with a radar superimposed upon it and literally take educated guesses as to what the weather is going to be like. And they get paid to guess. There is a 50% chance of rain this weekend they say. There is also a 50% chance that when you flip a coin it is going to be heads. There is a 70% chance that many of you wonder how weather earned a spot at all in this article. The answer is simple. Saturday weather, regardless of how inaccurate a forecast can be, is now important since football has arrived.

It’s finally time.

No longer do we have to languish over debates about what funky uniform Clemson will unveil this year. No sir, that is a debate for those long spring months after National Signing Day. What we have now is a debate about which uniform Clemson will actually wear Saturday. I know what you purists are saying. Uniform debates are as dumb now as the conversation about uniform combinations was in the spring. I agree with you. A uniform worry, no offense to the uniform freaks, is weird to hear guys talk about. I am convinced that the same people that start uniform threads on message boards are the same people that invented the woo-hoo.

It’s finally time.

Everybody better do a quick inventory of tailgating supplies before Saturday. You never know what piece of equipment is no longer usable since last year. (Hint, this is an excuse to go out and buy something new). I know of this one guy that parks in one of those fancy parking lots where you have your own spot, indoor eating areas, and indoor restrooms. This guy, and I kid you not, goes to his tailgate spot the Saturday before the first home game with some buddies and has a dress rehearsal to work out all the kinks. They even bring old Clemson games burned on DVD to watch while they “practice” tailgating. This is obviously much more thorough than doing a simple inventory. Then again, guys getting together to park a car a week before the actual football game is a bit over the top, I suppose.

It’s finally time.

This may sound kooky. But there really is something appealing about walking through a game day parking lot with the sights, smells, and sounds. I love seeing the first Clemson flags flying on a car zooming down the interstate. I love seeing the early tailgate folks who are up and running when we go on the air 6 hours prior to kickoff. I love wrapping up the Pre Game show and walking to my parking spot, smelling the burgers being grilled as I go. I love hearing those car horns fans have installed on their vehicles that blare the first few bars of Tiger Rag. And I love the C-L-E-M in cadence count cheer.

It’s finally time.

It is hard to beat the feeling of putting on that new shirt and hat for the start of a football season. It’s about the only time in my life where I understand how my wife feels when she goes shopping. Normally, I’m in the store and out with little to no regard for what I bought. But my game day attire is another thing altogether. I labor over the purchases. Then I take it home and iron it real good. I put the attire on after the car is loaded on game day so not to build up any additional sweat. I feel good in my new gear. The only worry I have is what kind of mojo the new gear will give off. I’m a bit superstitious, and breaking in a new shirt is a really risky move for folks like me. Good thing we are opening with Florida Atlantic (no offense Coach Schellenburger) as apposed to Florida State…so I’ll have a chance to work up some good luck in the shirt before the season gets serious.

It’s finally time.

Did you ever wonder what it must be like for locals who live in Clemson on game days? I assume most are Clemson fans, at least to some degree. So putting up with 80,000 people invading your city is tolerable to most of the locals. But what about those academia folks that are professors and/or students at Clemson and don’t even really know what football is? Does somebody warn them before the first game? Or do they wake up on a Saturday, hop in their car expecting to go grocery shopping, and run into a throng of cars streaming up and down the road with orange flags flapping? If nobody warns them, I suspect they think the world is coming to an end.

It’s finally time.

There is not a single position where I think we have an average player starting the game this year. There is not a single game that I don’t think we can win. There is not a single team on our schedule that is better than us talent for talent. There is not a single fan base that is more ready for something special to happen.

It’s finally time to stop talking about it and start proving it.

The best part of the day, for me, will be hearing the Orange Bowl March crank up as Tiger Band gets into formation to have the Tigers run down the hill. All of the off-season angst will fizzle away when the cannon sounds and Tiger Rag blares away.

I don’t really know how many words have been devoted to preparing for this football season. I would suspect the words are in the millions, and I myself have been guilty of adding to the mass. There comes a time, however, to shut up and play football.

It’s finally time. Thank goodness for that.

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