A Fan of Experience


The scene at last weekend’s Clemson and Notre Dame game was insane! It had rained the 24+ hours leading up to the game so every place you drove, walked or sat was water-logged.

We were already wet from walking around in the rain most of the day in Greenville ,SC. If it wasn’t wet before we got to Clemson, it quickly got wet. I’m talking all-three-layers of clothes — rain jacket, coat and t-shirt — completely absorbed with water. Wet jeans? Yeah, those too.

The parking was madness! We drove around for nearly an hour, more than 3 hours before game time and absolutely nowhere to park our car. Cars were parked on the sides of roads, in grassy areas, in mud, wherever they could squeeze in, which left no really good options for where to park my car. I was willing to pay to park but I couldn’t even find a paid lot! The places that had openings were long, long walking distances away and had warning signs about being towed.

I finally asked a guy — Ok seriously, where can I park my car? — and he told me how to get to a paid lot that had a shuttle to the stadium (yay!). We found it (and it’s tiny little sign), caught the shuttle, and were finally on our way.

We finally make it into the stadium, purchase  nachos and popcorn and soda and climb way up to our nose-bleed bleacher seats. We sat in puddles. Our nacho chips got soggy. Our soda got watered down, not from melting ice but from the rain falling *into* the cup.

It didn’t matter that if we sat our bums were in puddles of cold water because no one sat. If we sat, we couldn’t see the field or the game because the people in front of us were standing, and the people in front of them were standing and so on.

Clemson scored two touchdowns rather quickly and the fans around us were ecstatic with cheers and singing along to the fight song. After the second TD we had learned the cheer and joined in.

C. L. E. M. S. Ohhhhhh (make a circle in the air with your fist) N!

As I observed all of this I thought these people are diehard Clemson fans! They are here in the rain, in the wind, in the cold, decked out in orange outfits that look a little like prison jumpsuits and they are happy and smiling and having the time of their life despite the deluge of water from the sky. Only a diehard fan would do this!

But wait. I’m enduring the same nasty conditions and I’m not a diehard a Clemson fan. I’m not even a sort’ve Clemson fan. I didn’t go to school here and have no connections here. I just happened to be in town this weekend and thought going to the Clemson v. Notre Dame would be a cool experience.

Us, soaked, at the Clemson v. Notre Dame game

Why would I stand soaked to my underclothes to watch the football game of a team for which I have no passion, nor even a mere connection?

Because I’m a fan, not of Clemson (or Notre Dame) but of experience.

I’m a fan of experiencing new and different and unique and taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.

I didn’t really care so much who was playing, although it was a great match up and a great game. I cared about doing something local, something rare, something I could only do in that location at that moment in time.

When in Rome, do as the Romans, right?

When in Greenville, SC, on Clemson v. Notre Dame weekend, do as they do.

C.L.E.M.S.Ohhhhh N!

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