If you are sitting around on a Tuesday evening looking for something other than the NBA to watch, I would suggest ESPN's E:60. It is one of the few things that our friends at ESPN do really well. The show depicts various stories of athletes, with a more in depth twist than your typical sports show.
I got my title for today's rant from a quote I heard on E:60 from Chris Paul. "I hate losing, more than I like winning." It is one of those quotes that hits your intuitive parts like David Dunham did Matt Ryan back in 2005. Matty Ice
For any passionate athlete or fan, I think this quote epitomizes the thoughts and feelings of most human beings.
I was reminded of this feeling last weekend as Clemson returned to the field of play after one of the more tumultuous weeks in recent Clemson football history. We are all aware of what transpired but not many people know the job Interim Coach Dabo Swinney did to unite not only the team but the Clemson Family after a traumatic turn of events. While I am not going to attempt to rehash my feelings on Coach Bowden, his departure and Coach Swinney's arrival as the face of Clemson football, prompted tremendous rejuvenation surrounding Clemson fans. Going into last week's game there was a sense of excitement that had not been on campus since early on in the Bowden regime. It began Saturday with the Tiger Walk, while not an original idea, I think it is one of the great traditions at the schools who do hold such pregame events throughout the country. To have 5,000 to 6,000 fans waiting at 9:45 in the morning to greet their football team was exciting to see. Then to watch Coach Swinney enter the top of the hill, exuding passion and excitement, sent chills through my spine, sending me back to the night when I stood atop of that very hill for my first and only trip down the hill. To see a full stadium and to feel the energy in a stadium that makes college football special was fun to be apart of.
That all being said, when the dust had cleared the scoreboard said Georgia Tech 21 Clemson 17. They made the play we could not make and won the game. Whether or not I think they are better is irrelevant, they lined up and got it done on Saturday. I think I may hate losing to Georgia Tech more than I do South Carolina, while a lot of that has to do with the fact that I grew up in Atlanta a lot of that has to do with the fact that they just don't care. Football is just something to go to because everybody else is doing it, it is a break from studying but it is a fan base that lacks passion, commitment and desire. I am sorry Baltes to paint with such a broad brush but it is true. It flat infuriates me when Clemson loses to teams that quite frankly don't give a flying fan dingo about their team. They will talk crap to you because all they know is that their team happened to win on Saturday.
This whole idea of "I hate losing, more than I like winning" was brought to the forefront this morning when I was paruzing AJC.com and I came across the following article.
As of this morning there are 11,000 tickets still remaining for the Georgia Tech-UVA game. You have Paul Johnson pleading with fans to come out and support this team in their 55,000 seat stadium. Their team is 6-1 with a great chance to end up in Tampa and they can't find 55,000 people to come out to support this team?!?!?!? While my team is 3-4 destined to find themselves not bowl eligible for the first time in 10 years will have great followings for road games at BC, FSU, and UVA and their two remaining home games. I know games are won and lost on the field but it frustrates me as a fan and on the behalf my respective school's fan base when we lose to schools who quite frankly don't give a rip. There is no way on God's Green earth would Clemson be pleading with fans to come support a 7-1 football team.
As you can tell I am frustrated because at Clemson we have the fan base that is ready to explode, we have the facilities, we allegedly have the talent but not the leadership to take us over the top even in a situation where the ACC is the laughing stock of college football. So in the meantime, schools like Wake, BC, and GT all have legitimate shots to represent the ACC in the BCS. It pains me because once again, I will find myself on Championship Saturday watching a half filled Raymond James Stadium or freezing my butt off in Philadelphia watching Army take another one for the home team, thinking what might have been.
I do not like UGA but it has been fun to watch BullDawg Nation come back in the last few years, they are energized and have a fan following as good as any school in the nation. Alabama is back on track under Saban's watch. Lest we forget that LSU was not good prior to Coach Saban's arrival in Baton Rouge. I heard a "Georgia Fan" call into WCCP the other day and say that Clemson will never win the Championships Georgia has. I wanted to ask him what up until 2001 Clemson had won an Conference Championship more recently than UGA. It can happen at Clemson and hopefully I will be around to be able to enjoy one trip to a BCS bowl game.
DAMNIT!! I HATE LOSING!!!