- I spent New Year’s Eve in Miami with my brother for Clemson’s game against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. It started out as the worst trip I’ve ever made. Our flight was delayed 4+ hours. Budget ran out of rental cars, so we were stuck with a 12 passenger van. The hotel reservations should have been planned better. We made it 15 miles down the road on gameday before realizing we forgot the tickets. Traffic was horrendous to the game. I lost a car flag at a toll booth. We missed our exit to the stadium. The escalator to our seat level was broken down. We went in the wrong entrance at the stadium. Fortunately, Clemson got it together at halftime and crushed Oklahoma 37-17 to earn a spot in the National Title game.
- After the game, I was talking out my plan of action to get tickets through IPTAY for the National Title in Glendale, Arizona. But my brother kept the single greatest secret in the history of Clemson football. Before the NC State game on 10/31, he had bought the rights to National Title game tickets through TeamTix for $5. And he hadn’t told anyone. He just sat on that bad boy for months. We were going to the National Championship game to see Clemson play!
- We flew out to Phoenix Saturday, giving us a two day cushion between the flight and game. We learned our lesson the first time. My brother’s college roommate met us after flying all the way from Germany for his first trip back to the US since joining the Air Force. We spent Sunday hiking A Mountain in Tempe, checking out the Fan Fest in downtown Phoenix, and grabbing some dinner at Spinelli’s, a fun little hipster pizza joint. We walked in to 2005 pop-punk blaring on the speakers and a League of Legends tournament on the TVs. That’s my people!
- The game was bittersweet. On one hand, it was an amazing back-and-forth game that wasn’t decided until the 4th quarter. Realistically, it was the best title game since Texas vs. USC in 2005, which is regarded as one of the best title games ever. But on the other hand, it was rough because Clemson lost 45-40 despite holding the Heisman winner to 4.4 yards per carry, Deshaun Watson setting the record for most yards accounted for in a championship game, and recording our 11th straight game with 500 yards of offense. I really, really wanted to see Clemson win a national championship in person. But after a few days removed from it, the trip was amazing and I’m glad I was able to be there to see it.
- I’m ready for a break from football. After hitting 12 of this year’s 15 games and making trips to Miami and Phoenix within 10 days of each other, I need to take a breather to regroup and re-energize. Sure, I’ll still casually follow the Panthers since they’re doing well. And I’ll be sure to be incredibly unproductive at work during Signing Day in February. But for once, I’m kind of looking forward to take a step back from sports for the next couple of months. After all, there’s only 230 days until it starts all over again!
Hope you rung the New Year in well. I’m looking forward to my three day weekend for MLK Jr Day before gearing up for Marianas Trench concerts. Have a great weekend!