10 Things to Do Before September

The Orange and White game will culminate spring practice for the Clemson Tigers this Saturday in Death Valley. In just a few short months, the players will reconvene for summer practice and the start of the 2004 season will be upon us before you know it.

Tommy Bowden and his assistant coaches will work hard this summer reviewing strategies for the 2004 season.

But, what can you, as a Tiger fan, do this summer to push this program forward? Here are 10 things you can do to pull your weight for the Clemson Tigers, in no particular order.

1. Attend One Spring Meeting
The IPTAY circuit will be in full swing in the next few weeks and if you live in South Carolina, North Carolina, or Georgia you will be within earshot of a meeting at some point in the next few weeks. These meetings are important for many reasons, plus it's a chance for you to rub shoulders with the Clemson coaches.

2. Fly Your Flags During Vacation
It is a proud time to be a Clemson fan, no doubt. Show that pride when you hit the beaches or mountains this summer on your annual vacation. Showing school pride can only benefit Clemson University. While it may be difficult to strut around in Clemson attire after a humiliating bowl loss, the way the 2004 season ended should afford you no excuses to show people around the southeast that we are proud of our Clemson football team.

3. Write A Coach
It is easy to write a letter to a football coach when things are going bad. You may have done it to Coach Bowden at some point in the last two years, and if you did you were not alone. Most of the coaches will not read an email, but all of the coaches will read a handwritten letter or a typed letter addressed to their office. What you choose to write in that letter is, of course, up to you. However, taking the time to reach out to our coaches in the off season after a bowl win is as important as writing a letter during the bad times.

4. Book An Extra Road Trip
There are some exciting road trips for the Tigers this year in football. College Station and Coral Gables offer Clemson fans a trip to a football game that many have never been to. In addition, fun trips to Charlottesville and Tallahassee are must do's if you have never taken those trips. If you normally go to one road game, book two this summer. If you try to get to 2 or 3 road games a year, book 4 this year. Clemson football will be under the national spotlight this fall, and being in attendance will go a long way in showing your Tiger Pride.

5. Develop Some Anger Towards Wake Forest
Ok. I realize this will be no problem for any of you that were in Winston-Salem last year. But if you weren't there, and if you don't despise the Demon Deacons, do whatever you need to do to get your game face on. As crazy as it may sound, Death Valley needs to be electric when Wake comes to town to open the 2004 season. It's hard to "hate Wake," but the atmosphere in Death Valley for the opening game needs to be similar to if Florida State were coming to town. Wake embarrassed us a year ago. Payback MUST be Hell!

6. Watch The 2003 Clemson/USC Game
This one is a bit of a trick. I want you to watch the game again (regardless of how many times you have watched it up to this point). There is a reason for that. I want you to enjoy it, of course. However, you need to watch it with the realization that you will never see that kind of humiliation versus South Carolina again in your lifetime. It just won't happen. Clemson may whip the Gamecocks many more times before your days are done, but none of the whippings will be as bad as last year's. So, watch it one more time and keep in mind that the feeling we had in Williams-Brice that night is as good as it is ever going to get.

7. Increase Your IPTAY Points
We listened to you complain (and maybe rightfully so) that you did not get Peach Bowl tickets this past year. You said the system is unfair. You said longevity should count as much as contributions. Guess what? It doesn't under IPTAY's current plan. You know that now. You also know now that it may be hard to get a ticket to a prestigious bowl game in the future if Clemson is lucky enough to get in one. Instead of complaining about how you don't like the system, do whatever you can within reason to increase your status in the system. Money is tight for all of us, and sometimes money can't be taken from necessity items to put towards Clemson football. But, if you can, increase your giving's. It will help our facility upgrades and it will help you get a bowl ticket in the future.

8. Go to a Clemson Baseball Game
It may not be America's past time anymore, but do yourself a favor and attend a baseball game this year. Jack Leggett has a great program that draws thousands of fans to each game. If you are not one of those that regularly goes to a baseball game, make a habit of it. You will enjoy yourself, and in the meantime support a program that deserves it based on their performance on the field.

9. Play the Walker Course
This one really does not have anything to do with helping Clemson football, but I was trying to get you an excuse to go play golf. Now you have one, so go play.

10. Don't Buy Preseason Magazines
I'm as guilty of doing this as anybody. It is almost a summer rite of passage for me to shell out $50 on the various publications that come out in June previewing the 2004 football season. Do yourself a favor this year. Don't buy them. Most, if not all, of the preseason magazines will tout Clemson in very high esteem. They will talk of Clemson's late run and the return of Charlie Whitehurst. They will tell you that Clemson has a legitimate shot at winning the ACC Championship. If you break down and buy the magazines, keep this in mind. The same publications that last summer said Clemson would struggle to have a winning season will sing a different tune this summer. And that song isn't worth your money.

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