Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dear Clemson

Dear Clemson-

At the Texas A & M game I witnessed Clemson at our best, not just on the field but also off the field. We showed to our guests from Texas remarkable hospitality and sportsmanship and they were impressed. Here are a few quotes from the letters I received on your behalf:

Richard Kardys, President of the Association of Former Students Texas A&M, wrote・i>By game time, I had decided that Clemson was my second favorite university. Your magnificent stadium and the rousing game-time pageantry added to that feeling. Your pre-game videotape encouraging good sportsmanship was obviously taken to heart by the Tiger fans. As the score swung back and forth, I saw both sets of fans giving positive support to their teams, with no taunting of the other team. The stirring tribute to our war dead, the 21-gun cannon salute, and then Taps reminded all of us how much gratitude we owe our brave military graduates and the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Although we were outscored in the final seconds, your Clemson fans were totally gracious in victory. I hope our two universities can find opportunities to schedule future games together. Our trip to Clemson confirmed all our preconceptions about Southern hospitality. I think Aggies have found a university soul mate.

Dennis and Connie Bickers wrote・i>We have never been received by such friendly people in all our travels to football games away from Aggieland・'all have a lot to be proud of. By-the-way- we have never seen tailgating like you all do. Again, thanks and good luck for the rest of the season.

Wil Bassham, Jr. wrote・i>I have NEVER seen a college football scene like the one Clemson puts on. You guys do it right and embody good sportsmanship. You folks are top-notch.

Gary W. Bensema wrote・Even on our departure from Death Valley, the comments from orange shirted fans were kind and supportive. It was indeed, "a great game," a great experience, and great introduction to your fine school.

Kyle Ballard wrote・Your fans' graciousness and hospitality were almost enough to make up for the disappointing loss! I met some great Clemson fans in college Station last year and already thought very highly of your school, but I was still unprepared for the universally welcoming environment that we experienced.

There is another aspect of the game that I was pleased to witness. We were loud and we backed our Tigers. (What a game!) Sportsmanship does not mean that we want "kinder, gentler" sports teams. We always want to be loud and proud. If you are a visiting team we want Death Valley to be the hardest place to win in the United States and we want you to leave with your head ringing from the noise. However, we will do all this while showing the best in hospitality and sportsmanship. We did both last Saturday.

Our next 2 games are at Death Valley. One of the teams, Miami, has never been to Clemson and it has been a while since Boston College visited our campus. We will make a lasting impression on the field and off. If we continue to show real Clemson hospitality as we did at the Texas A&M game our visitors will leave Clemson with the impression that this is a special place and carry that message back to Miami and Boston. Please do your part to make this happen. I am proud of Clemson.

Go Tigers, beat Miami!

James F. Barker, FAIAPresident


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