Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We like to spell at C-L-E-M-S-O-N

For those of you poor souls who have never been fortunate enough to attend and be a part of a Clemson football game (or those of you Gamecocks, who choose the Dark Side,) you ought to know that we Clemson folks have a special talent. We may not have the strongest football team, the #1 national ranking of public universities, the country's most beautiful campus, the school with the best food, the dorms resembling the most like palaces, but we are freaking amazing spellers. I may be so bold as to say that Clemson is THE best school in the entire country for spelling. In fact, I think after I am going to contact US News College Ranking about adding a new category about the school with the best spelling record. That will put Clemson at #1 for sure.

You see, you can not be on the Clemson campus, surrounded by Clemson folks, at Death Valley during a game, or at a drunken party without hearing the spellers in action. The Student Body is made of cold misfit Northerners (like myself) and warm Palmetto-sporting South Carolinians, Chinese Exchange Student and regular ones, Fraternity Boys and Gothic ones, cheerleaders and book worms, 4.0 and academic probation people, and so it's just one of those things that we all have in common. We can all spell, and we are damn good at it.

Whenever our Clemson Tigers need some support, you can always hear a classic, "C-L-E-M-S-O-N!" with the lovely fist pumping into the air and andrenaline ripping through people's hearts. The trick with this particular cheer is to know that the last letter also merits a hand circle in mid-air. It has taken me all of two games to realize that this circle is in a leftward motion. Some drunk guy that reaked of Vodka called me a flipping idiot for having that incorrect. I do not think I will ever mistake it again so long as I live.

Another crucial spell is the quick and easy motivator. That being said, after a field goal, or in between downs, or plays, a nice quick and simple, "C-L-E-M-S-O-N T-I-G-E-R-S!!!" Say this with speed and enthusiasm and with the loudest possible voice your body can muster, and then you'll probably have it.

Usually in the third or fourth quarter, the cheerleaders lead the entire stadium in a rousing rendition of good old-fashioned spelling. The Stadium is broken up into 6 portions, each calling out a letter in our lovely name. Where I stand on the Hill, I have thus called L and O. But I can not imaine being the opponent team when the entire Stadium of 80,300 people are screaming at the tops of their lungs the name of home team. I get chills thinking about it, and I am the one doing it.

The fact of the matter is short and simple, we like to
spell Clemson. That's who we are, and who we always be. In the spirirt of my University, I say C-L-E-M-S-O-N!

Monday, September 21, 2009

True Rivalry

Okay to start, I grew up in the suburbs of New York City. More specifically, a small town called Verona, New Jersey, with about 13,000 residents. I graduated in 2008, and spent 3 years attending Verona High School. Now to all of you locals of Clemson, or anyone whose neck is slightly red, sporting a confederate flag on your truck, or waiting anxiously for Nascar, I might say you ought to be offended. Verona Home School, a town just 20 miles outside the limits of New York City, is home to the Verona Hillbillies.

And like most sports team, we had a rival, the Cedar Grove Panthers, who we dominated (or were destroyed by) each and every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. And of course, you had some people, like me, who could really care less about, "caging the panthers," or defending oneself against a rival dressed in Carhartt overalls with straw in their teeth, and pretendng to be retarded. But you had others, who talked real big about trashing up each other's school, which town was stronger, encroaching fights between residents. It was all rather foolish to me.

Then I came to Clemson.

Maybe because I have been here for a little more than a month, and was not born and bred to be a Clemson Tiger, but honestly, the rivalry thing to me is nothing more than a few silly phrases hurled back between Clemson and Columbia. Or was, nothing more than trash talk, and the occasional chicken joke. Then I went to Columbia, South Carolina for the very first time.

One of my hall neighbor, who I will refer to as IQ, is part of the 'Divided House' thing, whereby her boyfriend goes to the UNiversity of South Carolina (USC, which is not to be confused with the REAL USC in Southern California.) She is one of those crazy Clemson fans that pretty much came out of the womb with stripes, and apparently nearly murdered her boyfriend when he announced his intentions of becoming a Gamecock. Even though the poor guy is not really that big of a fan of the Gamecocks, I do not think he can even bring up their games in front of her. I thought she was a little psycho at first, but the more I live here at Clemson, and encounter other fans, the more I realize she is pretty lame compared to some of the fans.

I am that girl from the North or everyone gets annoyed at with when I make fun of this silly rivalry. "Seriously, guys, it's football! Who cares? We have more things to worry!" Evil glares are thrown my way, followed by the occasional, "your not from around here," or, "just you wait till you begin to understand this rivalry." And of course, you have your real compelling argument, "Gamecocks SUCK!" I am not convinced, it's a game! Grow up people!

For his birthday, IQ decided to invite his friends, and some of her's to a Mexican restaurant in Columbia. She invited me along, originally out of pity, as the the girl with nothing else to do. It was a great opportunity for me, as well, because I love South Carolina with all of my heart, but have only seen the small town of Clemson. This, my friend, is not saying much in terms of knowing about your somewhat adopted state. Plus it was another opportunity to get the lay of the land. I finally figured out that Irmo and Greenwood were names of towns and not bugs, and Ninety-Six was not just a football play.

When we finally arrived in Columbia, I was pretty disappointed. Zaxby and IQ had spoke about how dirty, unsanitary, dangerous, and disgusting Columbia was. Apparently, homeless people could be found on every street corner, and crime and poverty is just lurking on every avenue. All I have to say is that I should have expected this from two girls that think the Clemson campus is dangerous, and carry Mace with them every where they go. Ya'll should not even think about coming to New York, is all I got to say about that.

But what did shock me was that, when we exited the car, just outside of the residence hall of IQ's boyfriend, something mind-blowing happened. Sure, we may have been asking for it, with the fact that each one of was in an orange tee-shirt, but even still! As the three of us walked along the sidewalk to the hall, a truck pulled up slowly behind us. Honking, the rolled down the windows and screamed,

"Wrong School, ass----" I'm pretty that if I could hear the rest of what they said, I would have been utterly baffled.

Seriously, people, are you telling me that I am not allowed in Columbia, because I go to Clemson? When we got into the safety, or lack there of, the USC residence Hall, we replayed our story for IQ's boyfriend and his roommates. They burst into laughter and told us it was our own fault.

I like to say I have seen it all, but then something like this comes along and completely shatters my faith in the human race. My fault? It's my fault that ya'll have nothing better to do with yourselves? And then, it came to me. Like a calling from the heavens, this statement materialized in my mind, and before I could begin to understand the repercussions  I entered face first into the rivalry.

"My fault? MY FAULT? Guess what? Your campus sucks! You all are the friggen' chickens, just because your mascot sucks, does not mean that's my problem. And guess what? EVeryone knows Clemson is better? Our campus is gorgeous, your's is like the projects. Our academics are better, and do not even try to argue that. Gamecocks suck."

I am now officially a Gamecock hater.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Feeling Culturious?

Part of the New Student at Clemson at program is a mandatory course called Clemson Connect. I wish to emphasize the word mandatory because no one I know would really want to do this if they had the choice. The first assignment was to read a book and attend a session by the author, who we all respected until she admitted that it was not she who choose the end result of her characters. Apparently the fictional characters decide their own fates and 'speak' to her. In addition, during the first few days of life at Clemson, one is required to attend a convocation, a small group session called One Clemson, attend a Library Workshop, and finally write a report about one Culturious experience at Clemson. It's horrid. If I'm being honest.

Culturious is defined as something involving curiosity for another culture, religion, lifestyle, or anything different than the lifestyle you are accustomed to. The examples they gave us were meeting some of the foreign exchange students, attending church with a friend from a different religion, trying a different sport unfamiliar to you, asking questions and getting answers from a roommate or fellow student with different lifestyles. Personally, I thought it rather odd that a school as un-diverse as Clemson would assign a project as such, but oh well?

I am a little weird myself, having spent a year in Japan and a year in France, so I tried to think of something at Clemson that was culturious. I thought it would be cheating if I wrote about helping the Japanese exchange students get to class with my language class, attending the French language table, trying foreign food (certainly not for the first time,) among other things. I wrote about something that was truly a new experience for me.

I wrote a report n what it was like to live with a Southerner.

The Project was distributed on August 25th, and I submitted it on September 2nd. Meanwhile, I decided to go around and hear about the other topics that my fellow Clemson students were choosing. These are a conglomeration of some of the excellent topics.

*Trying Sushi; Apparently trying sushi is culturious. I just thought that it was trendy when Americans ate Sushi, but apparently some of my fellow Clemson students had never eaten raw fish. The predicament: Disgusting! Steak and Potatoes are a million times better. Humans are not meant to eat raw fish.

*Attending Catholic Church; The difference between Catholic Church and Baptist/Methodist/Non-denominational are the following: Catholics don't want to be at church and aren't sure why they even go, but they feel they must raise their children in the Catholic faith; Catholics have cheap wine; they respect and worship their pope, but aren't sure why; peace be with you means to shake someone the hand of someone you know, but no one else; the priest tells you a verse of the bible, but doesn't teach it. (My roommate wrote about this topic, just fyi.)

*Southern Cuisine; Fried Okra. Grits. Fried Chicken. Biscuits and gravy. Sweet Tea. 'Nuff said. I might get a coronary just writing about the stuff.

*Meeting the Chinese Exchange Students; Not all Chinese people live in the Great Wall, sleep with panda's, and eat rice at every meal! Mind you there are only 2 undergraduate Chinese students (that I know of.) That being said, I don't know if this is a large enough sample to rule out that most Chinese people don't live on the Great Wall!

*Conversation with an African-American: "I talked to this very friendly black guy! He told me that if I wanted to make friends with black people at Clemson, I should refrain from asking them what sport they play." Yeah that's a very good idea.

*Going to a Waffle House for the First Time: Response from a born and raised South Carolininian when finding out his Michigan roommate was writing about eating at a Waffle House: "What the hell? What kind of place is the North of this fine country. It's Godless ice desert with no Waffle Houses!"