Some people hate the rollercoaster, others like it. Yesterday was a day made for the media. A day in which there was no line for the rollercoaster. All you had to do was get on, enjoy the ride, and when it was over run right back and do it all over again.
The Tommy Bowden era came to a close yesterday in Tigertown. First you had the frenzy of the news leaking out that Bowden was done. I first got notice about 11:40 am that something was up. By 11:50 am, I had confirmation that Tommy was gone and Dabo Swinney was in. I won't lie to you; at first I had a sense of loss and then a sense of renewal.
I don't think it is news to any of you that I was on the "Tommy Bowden Bandwagon".
I had worked beside the man since Jim Phillips left us back in 2003. I had seen first hand what he put into the program. I had talked to him about where he thought the program was heading and what the program could accomplish. We chatted about his kids both during their Clemson days as students and then moving on into the real world. I saw him during his highs and I saw him during his lows. I found out that, by rubbing elbows with him each week during the football season, my relationship went beyond just an acquaintance and became one of friendship. I started caring about his success and I wanted it for him. Not only would I quiz him about how life was treating him, but he had an interest in what was happening with me and my family. Some will say I had gotten too close and maybe I did, but I have found in life there are those who will stand up with you and there are those who you will stand up with. I had made the choice to stand with Coach Bowden and I am glad I did, but I am also glad he made the decision he did. You could see it in his eyes at the press conference. The fun was gone and the expectations were just too much. It was time to get off the rollercoaster.
I will admit I don't know Dabo that well. I really have had only one conversation with him and had to introduce myself after he finished his press conference. The sense of renewal I have is from what he said Monday evening. He knows he has been given an opportunity, an opportunity he intends to make the most of. He talked about how his players all have the same opportunity, show you are the best at your position or get out of the way. He talked about the need to win, the need to have fun, and the need to have some toughness. He had bought his ticket for the rollercoaster, he had pulled the bar down, and the rollercoaster was beginning the anticipated, slow climb toward the top of the hill.
Clemson lost something yesterday, but it also gained something.
I watched a guy that I wanted to have nothing but success leave the program in a manner he never expected.
I also watched a guy take over a program in a manner he never expected.
The rollercoaster is a funny ride. All the excitement, screaming, and rush are when you crest the hill and fall to the bottom. All the anticipation and excitement are in the slow climb to the top of the hill.
I like the rollercoaster; I just don't like what it does to some friends.
Life is a Rollercoaster
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