CLEMSON - Bill and Gay Riddleberger planned on making four trips to Clemson
from Binghamton, N.Y. this year, tying in football Saturday's with a chance
to see son Eric play for the Tigers' soccer team.
Three of those trips likely would have been made via airplane. But after the
tragic events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, their
planned flight for this weekend went by the boards.
Instead, the Riddleberger's made the 12-hour drive to catch Clemson's ...
win/loss over/to Virginia.
"We drove down. It was a big change," Bill Riddleberger said. "We don't have
real good (flight) connections in Binghamton, so we normally have to go to
Newark (N.J.) to fly down. But this time we thought we'd better drive."
Once they arrived on campus, the Riddleberger's and 79,000 other fans
entering Death Valley were subjected to the strict security upgrades
implemented at stadiums all across the country:
No bags, no backpacks, no radios, no seat cushions or chair backs, and plenty
of uniformed police officers on hand to search anything that was allowed on
"We went on the (university) web page to make sure we had the proper
information, so if we were asked to produce identification, we had it," Bill
Riddleberger said. "We came through with no problems whatsoever."
So did Melissa Solesbee from Mauldin, whose family in attendance included an
Solesbee's diaper bag and purse were searched thoroughly as she came through
her entrance gate. But given the circumstances which led to the extra
security, she didn't mind the minor hassle.
"We knew we'd get checked, so we started our walk over early," she said. "I
told them I didn't mind. I'd rather it be that way."