Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, October 02, 2009

What College Football Should Be About

Thanks to BillyGV on the message board for sharing this letter from the father of a Boston College player recovering from cancer to the Clemson athletic department and its fans.

If this does not place athetics in its proper real-life context, then nothing ever will.

This is how all fans should treat one another. May God bless the Herzlich Family. Fight on Mark!

Sept. 22, 2009

Dear Clemson Fans:
First - My son is Mark Herzlich, the BC linebacker recovering from Cancer. The entire Tiger Nation should be proud of the complete class your entire program carries itself with. I wear a copy of Mark's jersey to games and I lost track of the number of Clemson fans who approached me to wish him well and to say that they were praying for him. These are people who don't know me, don't know Mark and have little reason to even be aware of his situation yet were both aware and involved enough to say some kind words. Thank you.

Second, for those who missed it, prior to the game Coach Swinney presented Mark with a Clemson jersey signed by the whole team with Mark's #94 on it. I've never seen such an outstanding and unsolicited display of sportsmanship.

Finally, throughout the weekend the major topic of conversation outside football was the graciousness of the Clemson fan base. All of us commented on how welcoming everyone was, both before and after the game. I've been to Clemson before and interacted with Clemson fans in Boston so I wasn't suprised any more but I was glad to see my friends get the message too. There was absolutely no lack of support or fanatacism for Clemson football but it was all wrapped up in an understanding that competing doesn't mean hating, that you need an opponent to play a game and that there's a difference between an opponent and an enemy. My younger son, who's used to the whole us versus them attitude in a lot of fan bases turned to me at one point and said, "you just can't hate these guys!"

Clemson continues to be my favorite road trip. I always root for Boston College to go undefeated and win the ACC, but in the years that it can't be us, I hope it's you.
If you're going to be a bear - be a grizzly!

-Sandon Herzlich

(as posted at the Clemson athletic website)

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