Clemson has had an awesome year and I've enjoyed watching each and every game. I didn't go to Clemson, but I have many family ties to the school: my sister is a student there, many close family members are graduates, my great uncle was a standout football player there in the early '60s, and my FIL, my husband's granddads (including one who was a soccer player), and many others from his side of the family are graduates. The ties run deep.
It's said that there's something in the hills up at Clemson and that's true. There really is something in the hills. There's a feeling of comfort, of home, and of promise. There's a feeling of possibility, of rejuvenation, and of hope. And during this season, I think the nation got to see what a special place Clemson is.
I've become (surprisingly) an avid reader of the stories on TigerNet.com. Sometimes, I even know things before my husband (shocking!). There's just something about this team that makes you proud.
The leadership of Dabo Swinney, his faith and character, and the optimism and hope he shares is refreshing. The sportsmanship of the players sometimes astonishes me, especially in games like the one last night. These young men have a bond and it shows.
Whether the Tigers won or lost last night doesn't matter. Sure, it would've been awesome to be National Champions today, but this team from the head coach to the ball boys, should be applauded. They had a tremendous season and put forth their best effort last night. The game didn't go as well as they wanted, but they should be proud.
I feel totally out of character saying this, but this season will hold a special place in my heart. We made it up to Death Valley for two games and had an awesome time at both. We took the boys to the Appalachian State game with my family and then Kevin and I went up for the historic win against Notre Dame (and sat in the student section with my sister and her friends as we braved the torrential games). That was a momentous night. Our boys took pictures with many of the players and filled their autograph books full. We touched The Rock, watched the kids run down the hill, and ran on the field after the games. We watched the Orange Bowl victory with our family and last night, little Kaden put his hand over his heart to the singing of the National Anthem while in our den (he may have also been slightly nervous like his daddy).
Memories of this season will stay with me forever because I experienced them with the people I love most, but more than that, the hope that this team and its leader expressed week after week has reverberated into my life. When I think about this hope, I think about my Savior and the Hope only He can give. Day-after-day (and minute-after-minute), He fills me with Hope. Life may not always be perfect or go according to my plan. Things may not always work out as I want, but above all, my Savior is holding me, strengthening me, preparing me, and filling me with His Hope that doesn't falter, doesn't break, and doesn't run out.
Remember this hope each day, no matter what. Remember it when you're taking your kids to school and your morning was too rushed or harsh words were said. Remember this hope when you feel all alone and are in despair. Remember this hope when you feel on top of the world and remember this hope through ever valley and on every hilltop. And if you need a little pick me, talk to your Savior and He'll give you what you need.
Thank you, Clemson, for an incredible season. Thank you for the enjoyment you've given all your fans. Thank you most of all for the hope you've shown all season long and the optimism and good sportsmanship you've shared. #ALLIN