Carolina vs. Clemson. It’s a rivalry almost as old as the ages themselves. Well, no, not really. Just as long as both of the colleges and the game of football have existed. But it sure feels like these two universities were made to butt heads with each other.
The big Thanksgiving football game is just the beginning of it. The Carolina vs. Clemson Blood Drive occurred this past week, as well as the Donate Life Duel and the Tiger Burn held before the football game, along with #28 on the Bucket List: “Visit the Clemson campus wearing a USC shirt.”
There’s no end to the rivalry. It’s almost ingrained in our very lifeblood. We occasionally get crass and crude. We get angry, even bitter. We fight to the very end of that football game tooth and nail. And it’s wonderful. Winning something just isn’t as fun when you don’t have someone who can really compete with you for it.
But this Thanksgiving break I have to go home and deal with this rivalry like I never have before.
I come from a family…of Clemson fans. Yep, a whole bunch of people who wear those garish colors of their own volition. And up until this current year, I was one of them.
I was a staunch supporter of the orange and purple, standing my ground and supporting my team like no other. That’s just how I was brought up. Wearing little cheerleader outfits with the Tiger paw on the front on game days, bright orange ribbons in my hair. I never thought any different.
My sister attended, and received her degree from Clemson. She’s a proud alumni who screams at the TV during football games, especially during this particular showdown, and she also has a bathroom plastered in Tiger paraphernalia..
It was naturally assumed that I would go to Clemson University. And even if it wasn’t Clemson, I don’t think my family ever thought that I would end up at USC of all places. All it took was one campus tour to realize this was the college for me.
I’m not saying that Clemson isn’t a wonderful school, I went to my fair share of summer camps at both institutions, but something never felt right in regards to going to college there - it just wasn’t what I needed.
There were mixed emotions among the family. My mother told me that I had to do what was best for me, my father was begrudging about having to give money to a school that wasn’t Clemson, and my sister…I think she stopped speaking to me for a few days.
USC felt right, felt like home, a feeling no other school initially gave me.
My sister and I are back on speaking terms. She yells at me every time I pick up something even remotely garnet colored for my nephew to wear. I glare at her whenever she says something ironic about eating chicken fingers. I refuse to enter the aforementioned Clemson bathroom and she sneers at every time I wear a “Beat…” t-shirt in her vicinity.
But now…now…I have to face the very worst of the repercussions due to my decision to attend USC: gameday with my sister. Good thing we have a long couch, considering we will be sitting on opposite ends of it, wearing every bit of collegiate wear that we own, eyes glued to the TV, our respective IPods poised to play our school’s fight songs, and armed with Tiger and Cocky stuffed animals to throw at each other with each point gained.
We may have a rivalry, but just like how it brings about great things through donations and drives at both of the schools. Sometimes competition can bring the absolute best of you instead of always the worst.
One thing I do know for sure though…this upcoming gameday?
It’s going to be fun.
Image Source: http://www.independentmail.com/photos/galleries/2010/apr/24/area-players-nfl-draft/29257/