How Can I Root for Clemson?
A great many of my friends have come up to me the last few days offering a pat on the back and their (sometime) sincere condolences. The interaction almost invariably proceeds something like this:
Them: “Man, it’s too bad what happened to your Buckeyes in the playoffs.”
Me: “Oh, I am fine. I have been pulling for the Clemson Tigers all season long.”
Them: “Yeah, right. Sure you have. But you’ve got ‘Bama in the championship, right?”
Me: “Nope. I will be rooting for Clemson next Monday night as well.”
Them: “What? How can you be rooting for the Clemson Tigers?”
One week from tonight, the undefeated Crimson Tide of Alabama will be going for their gazillionth college football national championship against Clemson University.
The Tigers of Clemson come into the contest with a blemish on their season record. Coach Swinney’s Tigers lost this past November to a team that does not rank in the top-twenty nor was that team capable of winning one of those other bowl games.
And, oh yeah, Alabama beat Clemson last year for the 2016 title.
So, how can I be rooting for the Clemson Tigers?
‘Bama v. Clemson OR ‘How’ v. ‘Why’
According to his bio on the Clemson Tiger website, Coach Swinney has coached football at two universities.
Coach Dabo Swinney began his college coaching career in 1993 at Alabama which just so happens to be where he gained his playing experience and college degree. He then made his way to Clemson University where he has remained for the past 13 football seasons rising up to the rank of head coach for the past six of those seasons.
Two universities in twenty-six plus seasons of college coaching. My friends, that harkens back to a mostly bygone era of college coaching when integrity was the rule and not the vast exception.
I, myself, was guilty of too often looking for greener pastures as opposed to focusing on the moment and the blessing I had in being able to coach football and shape the lives of young men.
Coach Swinney has a laser sharp focus on both those things.
Consider the Following
Clemson University Football, according to a December TIME Magazine article, is #2 nationally in the annual academic rankings.
Empirically, Coach Dabo Swinney is one of the best in the country at providing the academic environment which allows for the shaping of scholars.
And if you review the clip below, then I think you would agree that there is no better example of a major college football coach leading his student-athletes into manhood.
(Background: The YouTube clip is a 4min. snippet of Coach Swinney’s response to a question regarding Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem.)
Here is a person of Christian values. Here is a coach who is man enough to profess and share those values. And not only that, he is willing to speak the name of Jesus while representing his public university employer. There are not many universities that would back such actions from their football coach; and for that reason (among others), there are even fewer coaches today whom are willing to openly speak what they truly believe.
That is courage. That is leading from the front. That is a man you want mentoring your son.
So, how is it that I can be rooting for the Clemson Tigers you ask.
Easy. My ‘Why’ is big enough.
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