Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Clemson-Carolina - A Dickens Novel

As Clemson and Carolina square off Saturday night, emotions will range from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Expectations for the following year will range from jubilation to embarrassment.

For those lucky enough to be on the winning side, sleep comes easy. For the everyone else, nightmares.

See, there is no worse feeling than walking out of the stadium hearing fans, young and old alike, celebrate at your expense. There is no worse feeling than knowing everyone has bragging rights over you, from your neighbor to the guy pumping your gas. It’s terrible knowing those folks get the entire year to rag you and altogether push your buttons.

More than the feeling of losing, the game itself is no fun. It’s no fun riding the rollercoaster that is Clemson-Carolina. It’s no fun celebrating every touchdown and lamenting every point against you. It’s no fun holding your breath for 3 hours. It’s no fun listening to the Carolina fight song or seeing your state flag branded by your hated rival. It’s no fun having to explain to your kids that Clemson lost.

This game is no fun. Until you win.

There is no greater feeling than walking out of the stadium knowing you have bragging rights for the next 365 days. It’s now open season on the same folks who took every chance to rub it in. And any garnet shirt or Wal-Mart customer is fair game. You know your role and they know theirs.

It feels amazing to sing “Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye” to UCS fans in their own stadium. It feels amazing to shake your keys at leaving fans and count their taillights as they head home. It feels amazing to rein down Zero bars on your rival’s field. It feels amazing to watch your coach get carried off the field, from a lame duck West to a lip-quivering Bowden to an interim coach Swinney.

This game is brutal to watch, insufferable to lose, but unbelievable to win.

Right now, in the days leading up to the game, I hate it. But hopefully at some point late Saturday evening, that hate will turn to joy. Joy that will not run dry, but last an entire year.

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