What Makes Your Team Special?

Jon ParkerContributor IMay 20, 2009

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 12:  Fans fill 'Death Valley' to watch a game between the Clemson Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles on November 12, 2005 at Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Why do you pull for your team? Is it because they are who everyone else is pulling for? Is it because you like their colors? Is it their coach or a certain player? For me, being a Clemson Tiger is in my blood, literally. I grew up with a Dad who loved Clemson, so wanting to be just like my Dad I grew up with the orange and purple.

I remember going with my Dad to the ACC regular season basketball game against Duke which got us the ACC title as a Junior in high school only to get home around 3 AM in the morning but still made it to school to talk junk to the Dookies.

I remember Saturdays watching Clemson football with my Dad. I remember getting season tickets for the home games my Junior and Senior year in high school. I remember going to away games at Virginia Tech, Duke, and NC State. I remember getting that acceptance letter in the mail to Clemson University.

I remember going to games my Freshman year with my Dad and Mom. But I'll never forget a Clemson Baseball game my Freshman year at Clemson. We played South Carolina and won in a dramatic walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth. I'll never forget my Dad having chest pains. I'll never forget getting him rushed to the hospital.

I'll never forget him spending the whole week in the hospital while I had to try and concentrate and take final exams. I'll never forget both of coming home on Saturday (he from the hospital, me from college). I'll never forget spending the whole day Sunday watching sports which is what we loved to do most.

I'll never forget on Monday morning waking up to him not being able to breath and ultimately being the last person to see him alive.

So my Dad's been gone now for 18 years but I remember him because Clemson was in his blood and now is in mine. I live in North Carolina with a bunch of Duke, UNC, and NC State fans and they get tired of me wearing orange all the time. But you see when I wear orange I remember my Dad.

I remember those days basking in the sun at football stadium, I remember the glow of the lights over the baseball field, and remember the bounce of the ball on the hardwood.  Every time I think about Clemson, I think about my Dad. Why do you pull for you team? For me, it's in my blood.