Dawson's Diary - Fan Day Edition

CLEMSON - The prodigal son has returned. Clemson punter Dawson Zimmerman's first diary entry of the 2009 season is right here and it's an absolute must read.

It's been a long time since I last decided to dig through the recesses of my brain and attempt to transcribe observations describing the nuanced sides of a Clemson Tigers football practice. Perhaps if you have read my previous diaries you may think either, "Yes! The prodigal son has returned!" or maybe "Shut up already, you are a punter."

Maybe there's a level of gray indifference. At any rate, today's entry is being made a little more difficult because of the arthritic sensations running through the nerves in my right hand. When you clutch a sharpie for hours and your hand looks like this:

At the end of the day, there can only be one possible culprit: Fan Day.

First let me say that Clemson fans are incredible.

I am always amazed at the sheer number of people that show up to events like the one today. It communicates a support that is pretty humbling and is a great way to start a season. That said, there are several different types of fans that I encountered today at the autograph extravaganza:

The "My Friend Dragged Me Here" Fan
The MFDMH Fan has really minimal or no interest in the event. They may be a significant other earning points with their companion or they might just be providing company for an adamant fan intent on filling up a ball with signatures. You can usually recognize them by their lack of team colors, nonchalant wandering , and feigned amusement as their devoted friends shows them the signatures they've obtained.

The "This Was A Good Idea This Morning But Now It's Hot And I Want To Leave" Fan
Showing a lack of true diligence and endurance, the TWAGITMBNIHAIWTL Fan gets a couple of autographs, thinks to themselves about how this is a cool experience, and then finds themselves waiting in line for the autograph of C.J. Spiller or Dabo Swinney. At this point the fan realizes that the tightening ligaments in the back of their knees and accumulating perspiration on their brow is beginning to become uncomfortable. Twenty minutes later after the line has scarcely moved and the sought autographer is still not in sight, they pick up their poster and leave while telling themselves that they'll see everyone at the games anyway. But they usually can't handle the heat there either.

The "Where's C.J. Spiller?" Fan
I had one of these fans actually approach me today. He asked, "Do you happen to know where the running backs are signing autographs?" to which I responded, "look to where the other people are running." Literally, as soon as the gates in the stadium were opened, Spencer Benton and I were entertained by the sprinting masses that sought out our Heisman hopeful. More power to them. They got his autograph and picture before the lines became ridiculous.

The "You Know Too Much About Me" Fan
These are the stalkers. The creepers. The people who ask about your hometown, know your birth date, your favorite food, and the names of your siblings. I respect these people's fervor but at the same time sign their shirt or poster as quickly as I can, shivering when I glance up and see their glazed eyes and smiling faces penetrating my soul. I sign extra quickly when they ask me about how my new apartment is treating me and know the address.

The "Typical Average" Fan
The TA Fan is probably the fan with the best mental health. They support Clemson and have for years. They know your position and number but not your favorite movie. They keep up with the team and pray for good seasons, are upset when we lose, and ecstatic when we win. They don't feel the need to plant enormous Clemson flags in their yards because there are Clemson flags planted in their hearts. They dress their kids in Clemson apparel without going over the top. I respect these people.

The "Sign My Baby" Fan
At one point today I found myself signing the stomach of an infant. I guess the little guy didn't like it and the mother kept holding him there crying until I finished the signature, which eventually looked like a hieroglyphic or Chinese word. I don't really know what to think of these people. Maybe they're just really dedicated?

The "Today Is My Christmas" Fan
These fans lie awake in bed and glance at the alarm clock every hour in anticipation of getting their favorite players' autographs. When they do fall into a fleeting subconscious state they imagine themselves running down the hill and visualize Clemson touchdowns and rushing the field after games. These images wake them from sleep and they suppress childlike squeals of giddiness as they clench the covers, covering their bodies which are already donning a Clemson jersey awaiting the day's festivities. They wake up, jump in the car, and drive to Death Valley, stereo blaring the Clemson fight song. Its 8 a.m and fan day officially starts at 2, but they want to be first in line to get an autograph and picture with Dabo Swinney. Luckily for these people, Christmas comes again early in the form of a Sep. 5th home opener where they can cheer on the team until they grow hoarse.

Some that didn't have time to make the list
The "Sign This Notepad I Didn't Have Time To Buy A Poster Or Program. Just Sign It" Fan.

The "I Liked Him. Now I'm Going To Go Add Him On Facebook" Fan.

The "Sign This Shirt. And Helmet. And Poster. And Program. And Painting. And Etc." Fan.

Overall fan day was an enjoyable experience. But after typing all of this with my aforementioned hand ailment, I need to locate head trainer Danny Poole and get some treatment.

Until next time. Godspeed to you all.

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