5 Must-Do's On Opening Day

The car is packed, the tickets are in the wallet, and the coolers are filled. The time has come to finally strap it on and play some football. The 2001 football season is upon us, and we are about to find out how the young defense is going to play and if Woody Dantzler will give the Heisman a run for it's money.

So, as opening day draws within single digit days, here is the Official Scott Rhymer Must-Do's On Opening Day. So print this out, and check off the list as you go through the day. Do all of the below, and your opening day will be complete.

Check Your Route
Part of I-85 is actually finished with construction, but there is a stretch south of Highway 153 that is still being worked on. Therefore, expect delays if you choose to enter Clemson on Highway 76 off of I-85. Once you get into Clemson, you will be surprised to see that major construction is taking place in and around Clemson. Traveling into Clemson on Highway 76 will also be an adventure, as the lanes will converge from 2 lanes to 1. How much the SC Highway Patrol will assist is yet to be determined, but plan on bringing a little patience and leave just a few minutes early to avoid being rushed.

In addition, the parking around Littlejohn Coliseum has been reduced because of the groundbreaking of the Littlejohn Annex. Where these missing parking spaces will be made up is a mystery to me, so plan on arriving early to guarantee your preferable spot.

Follow The Band From Campus
The band gathers around the Johnstone dorms and makes it way down and around the stadium before entering in the West end zone. This is a great opportunity to hear Tiger Rag played about 5 times and to catch your first glimpse of the new cheerleaders. Tiger Rag is never really far from your memory during the off-season, but there is something simply magic about hearing it by the band for the first time of the football season. Hundreds of fans will gather for the walk, and if you are not fired up about opening day before this walk, you will be after you finish it. Following the band from campus to the stadium is one of those unique traditions that you should not miss on opening day.

Watch The Warm Ups
One of my favorite opening game traditions is arriving in the stadium early enough to watch the warm ups. If you follow the band into the stadium as I said above, you will be right on time to see the players go through their pre-game drills. Watching the warm ups may seem a little kooky to some of you, but it really is a must do during the first ball game. You will be one of the first to see Roscoe Crosby in his Clemson uniform, one of the first to see the newly painted field, and one of the first to see the young defense walk through their formations. It is also a great opportunity to chitchat with those "friends" that sit near you that you only see during home football games. You can catch up on how their off season was without missing any action from the game. Another benefit of being in the stadium early is that you know you wont miss the Tigers running down the hill for the first time in the 2001 year.

Visit The South Stands
Many of you sit in the South Stands, so this will not be a separate trip for you. But, those of you in the North and West Stands should stop by to check out the renovations made during the off-season. Of course, that is assuming the renovations are complete by September 1st! If the final results are anything like the pictures, it really is going to be a great looking transformation. The bad news for West and North Stands' occupants is that we have to wait one more year to see the renovations on our side.

Rub Howards Rock
The one opening day tradition that you should make a ritual is rubbing Howards Rock after the game. As the clock ticks away in the 4th quarter, make your way down the portal and onto Frank Howard Field. As you make your way to The Hill, take a look around you and take in the visual that these players see as they are playing the game. And don't be ashamed, however old you are, to run the last 10 or 15 yards into the end zone while pretending you are scoring the winning touchdown to beat the Gamecocks! I know I've done it, and I bet most that have been down on the field have also done it if they were man enough to admit it.

Once at The Hill, walk up to Howards Rock and give it a good "rubbing". Wish for a good year for the Tigers, a good year at work for you and your family, and safety in going home. But, what ever you do, don't put your filthy hands on that rock unless you are going to give 110%.

Because, you know as well as I do that Coach Howard is watching you from Cemetery Hill to make sure his beloved Tigers are fighting hard.

Man, it is good to know football season is here!

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