It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving
This meant three things: 1) BANGS Shoes had just broken sales records on Black Friday, 2) my twenty-eighth birthday was the following day, 3) it was the day of the Clemson vs. USC football game.
I wouldn’t exactly call myself a “football fan” as I don’t follow football… or any sports really.
During my four year stretch at Clemson I probably went into the stadium for a total of five games, but please understand…
I tailgated every single solitary home Clemson football game. Big Southern football tailgates are what dreams are made of.
Clemson games were flush with seersucker sundresses, tiger paws, deviled eggs, charming southern accents, and of course good-looking gentlmen as far as the eye can see.
On game day conservative college-town cops overlooked open containers in the street, obnoxious heckling and rowdy groups.
You were only really judged by one thing: the color of your clothes, symbolic of your team’s allegiance and thus… general character as a human.
This particular Saturday the Clemson vs. USC game was hosted on USC’s home territory in Columbia, South Carolina, convenient for Clemson alumni born and raised in Columbia (me!).
This game brings together friends I’ve know since the day I was born and friends I met in college.
Most of the rivalry that comes along with this reunion is in good fun. Who doesn’t like to talk smack every now and again?
It’s especially fun when your team comes out with the big W, and a good lesson in humility when you have to face the friends you’ve spent weeks trying to tear down with statistics you’ve read on Facebook / your Dad told you.
Game day 2015 was particularly important because I had heard ESPN named Clemson the number one collegiate football team in the country. And apparently we were even on the cover of the magazine!!!!
It was the perfect environment for Clemson fans to gloat.
On this special Saturday I had two lower-level tickets to the game. Shocking, I know: I would be entering the stadium.
I invited my older sister, Katie, to come with me on this momentous occasion.
Katie’s boyfriend, Derek, lives about a mile from USC’s stadium and graciously offered to drop us off so we wouldn’t miss kickoff which of course we ended up missing anyway.
Traffic was sheer chaos: four lanes of bumper to bumper cars and trucks + pedestrians filling in any open space with no regard to normal traffic laws.
Derek’s car crept along and reached a full stop in front of the stadium. Katie and I unbuckled our seat belts ready for a full day of fun when my worst nightmare became a reality.
I could not locate my phone.
My lifeline to 28 years of friends, my baby: BANGS Shoes, and our beloved social media was nowhere to be found.
How was I supposed to document / brag about this inevitable historic win?
With a heavy heart and clenched fists, I announced my personal travesty to Katie and Derek.
I would be forced to exist through a full day without access to the inter-webs.
My loving sister turned to Derek without skipping a beat and loudly asked, "Do you want to see an adult woman cry?”
There was no choice but to get out of the car and proceed ahead as if it were 1995, a time when cell phones were not an extension of humanity.
Bill Clinton was president, Seinfeld reigned supreme, and Pearl Jam was still a thing.
WAIT. No. But Clemson did end up winning and although I didn’t get to see everyone I had hoped to, the Universe organically led me face to face with many loved ones.
I even saw a pair of BANGS wandering around!
Yes, fine. They were on the feet of a close friend, but ALAS they were there.
It’s funny how priorities seem to shift with time. Our personal adventures are always changing.
In Elementary School, my Mom wouldn’t buy me this one mechanical pencil and it devastated me.
In all fairness it was the kind where the lead was separated into little plastic pieces and you could take one piece out from the top and insert it into the bottom of the pencil to push out the next piece of led. A timeless classic.
Anyways. Clemson vs. USC game day 2015, my adventure showed itself as an internal power struggle.
Can we calmly let go of the things we have zero control over?
Not having a cell phone is quite small and silly in the scheme of things. Nothing compared to the mechanical pencil scandal of ‘95.
But with the ability to let go of small things, can we apply that same process when something real happens?
Can we let go enough to access contentment, patience, and stillness? Appreciate this very moment, right now… regardless of the outcome?
Time will tell.
So I leave you today, yes with some deep-rooted mechanical pencil resentment, but acknowledging my adventure in this very moment is working to let go.
And keep using our Adventures to help others find theirs.
Until next time,
P.s. And for the record… no adult tears were shed that fateful game day.