Monday Morning Quarterback
You know how from time to time on Facebook you get those memory notifications about pictures you posted six or seven years ago, and you forgot you even posted it.
I had that happen yesterday. It was a shot from my seat in the press box at Bank of America Stadium taken prior to the 2011 ACC Championship Game between Clemson and Virginia Tech. Sunday was the sixth anniversary of Clemson’s rise back to the top of the ACC as the Tigers beat the Hokies 38-10 that night in Charlotte.
The picture kind of caught me by surprise and reminded me of the innocence of that photo at the time. It’s hard to imagine now, but at the time, that was a special moment for all of us, including those of us in the media.
I had covered Clemson for eight seasons at the time and not once had I covered a championship team. It was new experience for me, and I was not sure if was ever going to make it back there again. I soaked up every moment of that night as if it was the last.
When I saw that picture on Sunday evening, it brought me back to that moment and had me reflect on the last six years since I took that photo. What a ride it has been.
The picture also made me think back to my Mom. She was a diehard Clemson Tiger fan. She never missed a game. She loved her Tigers as much as life itself. That 2011 ACC Championship Game was the last time she saw her Tigers play.
A week to the day after Clemson won its first ACC Championship in 20 years, mom passed away. She had lost her long bout with cancer.
I talked to Mom the Sunday after the ACC Championship Game, and if you did not know, you would not have known she was sick. All she wanted to talk to me about was Clemson’s big win.
My older brother, who was with my Mom the night of that title game, later told me Mom was dancing around the house and celebrating like a little school girl. He said he had not seen her that energetic and happy in a long, long time.
Clemson was back on top in the ACC and Mom loved every second of it.
Now, six years later, as I stared at that picture last night, I could not help but wonder what Mom would be thinking now. I know she is up in Heaven looking down and watching her Tigers and I know she has loved every second of what they have done since that cold night in Charlotte back in 2011.
The past Saturday of course, the Tigers won their fourth ACC Championship under Dabo Swinney, and their third straight. They clinched a berth in the College Football Playoff for a third consecutive year as well, and will have an opportunity to defend their 2016 National Championship.
A lot has happened in my life both personally and professionally since I took that picture six years ago. But there is nothing I would not change.
That picture on Facebook reminded me how far Clemson and I have come since then. Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives, we take things for granted and we forget about where we have come from. We forget how special these kinds of moments are and how much we should enjoy them.
So that is exactly what I will do. I’m going to sit back and enjoy this ride a little longer. I’ll see you in New Orleans in a few weeks.