Friday, June 09, 2006

Clemson trip II

On Friday morning I left Georgia and drove to Clemson. I had never been there and I was surprised. Surprised at the beauty of that area. I think I could live happily there. There are hills and trees and lots of green and lakes, fabulous lakes.

Driving into Clemson you can see the huge football stadium across a lake. Clemson is written on one side and Tigers on the other. From Seneca where I was staying I drove over a causeway and the baseball stadium was immediately on the right with a river running beside it. All so beautiful.

But back to me, I checked into the motel, the Jameson Inn in Seneca, at 11 am. Then I had to wait for the game which started at 3. That was hard because I was so excited.

So I went to the game very early. I had printed out from the internet a map of the stadium area but still parked in the wrong lot. I went down to the main ticket office but found that it was not the one for Will Call tickets. I had to walk back up this four story flight of stairs; I'm glad I had been exercising.

I went around to the other side, along the third base outfield, to pick up the tickets. When I told the girl my name, she immediately told me that she lived in the Lightsey Apartments on campus. This was one of the places I wanted to visit. There are Lightsey buildings at both Clemson and the College of Charleston. The South Carolina Lightseys are rich; the Mississippi ones are not. There is no Lightsey building at Mississippi State.

I did not sit in my assigned seat but under an overhang to stay out of the sun. But things were wonderful anyway as my team was taking batting practice. They looked so good.

We played Elon College that afternoon. Elon was ranked No. 2 in the tournament; we were ranked No. 3, and the University of North Carolina at Asheville was ranked No. 4. Clemson was not only ranked No. 1 at the tournament but was the national No. 1.

We lost to Elon 5-4 that afternoon. I thought we were the better team but two errors on State at third base was the difference.

I was happy though, doing something I loved, just in the zone myself.

I did see something happen that I had never seen before, a player knocked out cold. State hit a fly ball to the outfield between the center fielder and the shortstop. Probably not catchable, but the shortstop made a dive for it. As he was coming down, his head hit the knee of the outfielder. The shortstop was on the ground, not moving. He stayed that way for several minutes before he unsteadily with help walked off. He played for Elon the next day.

After the game, I went back to my car, took my maroon folding chair out of my trunk, and put it under some trees to wait for the Clemson-UNCA game. Two Clemson supporters were nearby and I enjoyed talking to them. They gave me a Coke and offered me food.

They did not ask me about MSU's stadium. No one did all weekend which disappointed me as I wanted to brag. Clemson has a wonderful bandbox perfect stadium but nothing like ours. It doesn't compare in luxury or size.

The men were waiting for another man to come. When he got there, they said something about me. He looked at me and said, only somewhat in jest, You gave a drink to a Gamecock?

Clemson feels about the South Carolina Gamecocks the way we feel about Ole Miss.

I immediately said This color is maroon not garnet. That made things right.

They packed up and went to the game which started at seven. I stayed under the tree a while and then packed my stuff back into the trunk.

Meanwhile the sky had been darkening. Sitting in my car listening to the game on the radio,I didn't know what to do but then I saw a streak of lightening and on the radio I heard they were tarping the field in preparation for the coming rain. They only got in the top of the first inning.

So I left. I could find no outlet from the parking lot and had to have a strange man remove some sawhorse barriers to let me out. It started pouring as I was leaving the Clemson campus.

Jay had called me to let me know that in Friday rush hour traffic in Atlanta he was going to be very late. He did arrive very late but the game was never resumed on Friday night so he got to see more baseball that he had expected.

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