I can taste the Fall of 1981.
My freshman year in college.
The stupidest of times. The best of times. A season of sowing oats and seizing days and when the prayers of my future in-laws must have been protecting me the most.
It was the year I'd meet and make my life-long-best-friend-forever, the one whose place was always Shotgun, the friend whose conversation always ends in comma so we can pick up Right There the next time we meet. The friend who taught me how to drink beer and then right directly got up close and personal with Jesus and stopped drinking it herself and when I didn't stop, too, she lived grace right before my eyes and didn't judge me a bit. She just loved me and showed me Christ, sowing seeds of a different sort.
It was the year the Clemson Tigers, undefeated, marched straight into football history, eventually beating Nebraska 22-15 in the '82 Orange Bowl. Coach Danny Ford led the way and to listen to his postgame comments, you'd think Tiger Band had something to do with each victory. Homer Jordan. Jeff Davis. Perry Tuttle. William-the-Refrigerator Perry. Glory days.
It was the best team money could buy, and we'd pay dearly for our National Champions title–probation for the rest of my college career.
Thirty years later, Fall's taste is familiar. When you're a fan, a winning season is satisfying feast.
I imagine there are freshman now who are sowing oats and seizing days, and oh, how I pray for their protection from the stupidest of times.
The freshman are feasting at Clemson again, and although it's against the odds, not one of them aren't dreaming of a repeat of the '81 season. Not one of my comtempories aren't thinkin' about it, either.
Time will tell (and though I'm crossing fingers I'm not holding my breath…).
I went back for Clemson's homecoming this year, one of my favorite return trips of all time. Good times with friends, a picture perfect day, another for the win column and memories rich and colorful ~
And…for all the Clemson fans who haven't yet seen it, my son's favorite video du jour: Shock the World Tour ~