By Cathy Parker.
This Saturday’s Clemson game against Maryland was a little different for my family as my husband took our youngest son to visit another college football program where he was being recruited. But, I was excited to head to Clemson with a friend to cheer our boys on to victory.
We made sure that we left in time to be a part of Tiger Walk. I was caught off guard by a man I had just met when he began telling me that the coaches would probably lose their jobs if they lost another game. I quickly tuned him out and waited for our Tigers to pass.
I screamed and cheered for each and every coach and player, telling them that they were wonderful and that they were going to have a GREAT GAME!
I had given my usual seats to my son’s girlfriend so I sat in a different section of the stadium. The people around us did not realize who I was so they were very open about speaking any negative comments that came to their mind. Now, I have been around the game of football for a long time, not just watching my three sons but as a wife of a college and professional player and I know how fans can be. But, I think that Clemson can be different.
I know that there are times when it has been. My husband and I had a great first impression of Clemson as Jim Riggs (former Clemson Tight End) played with my husband on the Cincinnati Bengals. Carl and I were so impressed as Jim and Liz Riggs shared their thoughts about Clemson University being the “greatest place on earth.” Liz Riggs was the first Bengal wife to show up at the hospital 21 years ago to hold our new born son, Kyle. I guess he was destined then to become a Tiger.
I have often wondered why some NFL players say they are from their high school team instead of giving credit to the college that they have attended. Jim Riggs was not this way; he proudly announced that he was from CLEMSON UNIVERSITY. My husband received an awesome education from Vanderbilt University and was an ALL-SEC player there, but our love for Vanderbilt did not compare to the endearment that the Riggs had for Clemson.
Our son, Kyle, shared this same attraction for Clemson. Coming to a camp at the age of 16, he made up his mind that Clemson University was the place for him. He would not even consider going on any official visits to other schools. His mind was made up, he was a TIGER! He also convinced others to follow him, becoming the first of seven recruits from Jacksonville, Florida to sign in 2008.
Now here we are, I believe at a crossroads, we can complain and whine or we can believe and speak life to this team. My kids hear me say this Bible verse to them all the time; “Death and Life are in the Power of the Tongue “(Proverbs 18:21).
I know that I only have control over my own words and actions so this is what I am going to do on Saturday. I am going to get to Clemson, SC early to tailgate with my friends and family, I will eat too much, be at Tiger Walk where I will scream encouraging words to each player and coach as they walk into the stadium, I will pray with a group of player’s moms as we do each week, asking God for protection, wisdom and endurance (and yes, I will ask for a victory). During the game, I will scream, yell and make a total fool of myself as I do each week. I will do this no matter if it is defense, offense or special teams on the field because all of our tigers need our support. At the end of the day, I will be exhausted, sunburned and probably loose my voice but I will know that I have done my part to bring our team to VICTORY! “IT IS GREAT TO BE A TIGER”. Please join me.