The Clemson Experience


After Louisville made its inaugural trip to Death Valley in 2014, all I heard about was what a great experience it was and how nice everyone was. The epic stories made it seem like it was some sort of college football heaven. I just had to see what it was all about. I planned on making the return trip long before we knew it was going to be a top 5 matchup.

As we pulled into Clemson the first thing we heard was someone yelling ” go back to Kentucky.” I was so pleased to hear that because I needed the Clemson fans to not be as hospitable as advertised. Well, that was the last negative remark I heard for 2 days.

After hours of tailgating, where every Clemson fan felt the need to welcome us and tell us good luck, we decided to hop on the shuttle to the stadium. Turns out the shuttle we boarded drops you off at the library. We must have looked lost after departing the shuttle because this beautiful young co-ed walked up to our group of six decked out in Cardinal gear and asked in the sweetest souther draw, ” Y’all need some help?” She pointed us in the right direction and wished us luck.

We stopped at the student union to get a bite to eat before entering the stadium. The counter worked greeted us with ” welcome to Clemson, what can I get for you today?” I was thinking you could get me a barf bag because I am getting sick of all this fake friendliness. Nobody can be this nice. Especially a whole community other than Chick-Fil-A workers.

Clemson fans, I hate you! I needed you to be hostile. I needed you to be offensive towards me and my Cardinal gear to prove that we were a threat. To prove that you took us seriously. I needed your southern hospitality and friendliness to be a facade. I needed it to be a front for the true evil and hatred for us. I so wanted you to be Darth Vader dressed in an Easter Bunny costume. I though bringing the third ranked team to your house would bring out your true colors. Apparently, those are your true colors and I respect you. Thank you for a great time. We look forward to hosting you in our house next year.

30 Replies to “The Clemson Experience”

  1. I see no reason to hate on the competition when they come to our piece of heaven…..I am glad you had a great weekend and thanks for the awesome game… picked the right game to come to as the Valley was electric and I am still tired lol…….

    1. The stadium experience was unbelievable and everyone should put it on their bucket list. Loudest game I have ever attended. The Clemson fans were amazing. I shook hands and gave high fives to hundreds of fans as we wished each other good luck. The passion and friendliness is contagious. I could write a book about how great the whole experience was for myself and my group. I wasn’t in a press box, I was in the top deck about 9 rows from the top. Thank you again Clemson. Good luck the rest of the year. I’ll be back in 2018.

  2. I was in my car by myself and saw a Louisville fan walking down the sidewalk by himself. I leaned out the window and said Welcome to Clemson – hope you enjoy your visit. He just look astonished!

  3. Thanks you for this fun story! I laughed and definitely appreciated that you enjoyed your time with us! I just wanted to also pay the compliment back-I did not meet one rude fan representing the Cards! Truly enjoyed the weekend. There was a competitive yet respectful spirit from both teams! Y’all have one heck of a football team. Thank you for a great and memorable game. πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you for your kind words. Our experience in Louisville was the same. My favorite away football experience. Good luck with the rest of the season!

  5. Great to hear. Our Clemson season tickets are right beside the vising team, so we’ve had lots of chances to “judge” other schools’ fans. And Saturday night we had a entire row of Louisville folks who sat right behind us – nothing but class. It’s great to have a competitive rivalry without nastiness.

  6. Nothing but respect from both sides. Its going to be a fun rivalry. Both teams are exactly matched. Believed if they played 10 times, every one would go down to the wire. Glad you had a good time. On a similar note, I have been to many opposing stadiums and been treated nice at all except FSU, and that was just a few people being dumb.

  7. How sweet of you! I hope you never need a barf bag at Clemson 😊 We look forward to seeing you again in our house. Thanks for a great game, and for your charming story.

  8. Sorry (not sorry) to “disappoint.”

    I was raised a die-hard fan of Clemson’s rival, The Carolina Gamecocks. After dating a Tiger, I begrudgingly attended a Clemson game and I was hooked. My experience was much of what you described.

    At the end of the day, it’s is just a game. And a wonderful, thrilling game it was! Those boys (as well as the fans) are someone’s child and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. There’s enough ugly in the world that we don’t have to be ugly to one another. We look forward to the reciprocated hospitality when we visit y’all next year.

  9. I’m glad you had such a great experience! I married into the Clemson world and have loved it too.

    You guys have an unbelievable football team up there! It was a shame someone had to lose but I’m hoping that the ACC gets two teams into the playoff: Clemson and Louisville!

  10. We had same experience last year in Louisville. I made it point to “pay it forward” especially to your marching band members. I’ve been a Tiger Band mom, so I welcomed every band member I saw. Absolutely great group of kids. It was a fantastic night and I made my mind up if Louisville won, I was pulling for you all the way!

  11. Awesome story! Highest compliment you could pay to Clemson community & fan base. Best game I have ever seen & I have seen many. I had a similar experience with a Cards fan until he figured out he was in the wrong seat. We told each other how much we enjoyed the conversation & he was on his way to the correct seat. Cards are welcome in Clemson anytime.

  12. It was fun meeting so many Cardinal fans! They were a classy group of fans with a fantastic football team. I met tons of Cardinal fans that said they would be pulling for Clemson in the future, except when the Tigers and Cardinals play! That is how we should be every game. Friendly and warm. These are young people playing for their team! So proud of our Tigers and all of Tiger Nation! Good luck, Cardinals! Hope to make it to Kentucky next year!

  13. I am a life long Kentuckian and live in northern Kentucky just about 90 miles from Louisville. I am also a die hard Clemson fan ( full disclosure I went to NKU we had no football) When I went to the UL / Clemson game in Louisville last fall in full Clemson fear with my cousin and his girlfriend (Clemson grads, hence how Clemson became my adopted team with my first game there back in 1988 visiting my cousin) there are few times I was so proud to be from Kentucky. No one would’ve known I was from “just up the road” it was like being a “secret shopper” in my home state. The Cards fans were fun, polite , the kids were great and we had an awesome time. Made a fan of me. I asked a dear friend and diehard UL fan flat out if like a “memo” or something went out to be “nice” to Clemson fans…and kidding aside she said there basically WAS because of how well Clemson fans treated UL fans in their first visit to the Valley. That word got back to Kentucky.

    Point is am so glad to hear that my favorite team and my home state have connected in a fun, positive way. While I am glad Clemson won and I’ll be there for my “fix” against NC State later this month, would’ve loved to been in Death Valley Saturday night.

    Go Tigers and good luck Cards rest of the way, wouldn’t be shocked if we clash again THIS year.

    Florence, KY

  14. Thank you for the kind words! Walked out of Death Valley with two nice Cardinals they said this (Death Valley) was a great experience for them. Great game. Hope BC is as nice next week!

  15. We really do enjoy welcoming visitors here because we get an opportunity to learn about your school as well. We had approximately 10-12 Cardinal fans watch Ga. and FSU get beat at our tailgate. We all celebrated; can’t lie. But the best part was that some of them met us back at our tailgate at halftime and we sat and watched the second half together. So if you watched the game then you know that we both had highs and lows, but after the game we all walked over to the ESSO and had beers together. And yes there were goodbye hugs. Thanks to all your fan base who came for making us feel welcome as well… GO CARDS AND MAY THE REST OF YOUR SEASON BE BLESSED WITH SUCCESS… We are Clemson and you guys are always welcome in our house; win or lose…

  16. Lot one is where we always are and met some fans who were hanging around and looked lost. Fed them some food and drinks and told them welcome back and they did. I know how it feels to be a fan on the road and don’t know many tailgating spots and such.

  17. We saw many nice Clemson fans while we were there. We even had friends with us that are Clemson fans that were nice. But I must say we must have sat in a bad section because the fans around us during the game were anything but nice, especially while we were up in points and after the game. I have no need to go back but welcome them to come to our stadium to show them true sportsman like conduct.

    1. I am so very sorry you had that experience. Unfortunately, a few bad apples can spoil the cart. Please know that’s not the norm. I hope you’ll give us a chance to make it up to you.

  18. I’m still exhausted and we will probably meet again for the national championship. A great rivalry has developed and that is what college football should be all about. Without saying names I did have to remind an opposing fan a few years ago that there were small ears listening to his obscenities. Glad he backed off and apologized because I’m too old to fight like I used to. Clemson is just a great football atmosphere, I’m a Citadel grad but Clemson got my money for my two boys.

  19. I encountered some of those Cardinal clad fans at the restaurant I work at on Friday night before the game. I must say I was very impressed with those representatives of your team also. They were happy to be here and so kind to the staff and generous to their server. They wished our team good luck also.

  20. So great that you all had such a good experience from the Clemson fans. Too bad they aren’t so nice to their own kind. We had a horrible experience with the Clemson fans around us and I am an alum. Very disrespectful and belligerent by that time in the evening. Worst game ever for me.

  21. Glad you enjoyed yourself. You really ought to see us when we play South Carolina, we really aren’t THAT nice! You should be familiar with this as you have probably experienced many UK and U of L games. Seriously, there really is something about Clemson that makes it special. Welcome to the conference, we are glad you’re here now.

    BTW, I am a 1987 graduate of Clemson but I have a daughter (and son-in-law) who cheered for UK 2007 – 2011. She forces me to cheer really hard against the Cardinals and its a hard habit to break.

  22. I hope y’all return the favor. Your team is a force to be reckoned with not just in the ACC but the whole nation. Good luck!

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