By: Lindsey Rhodes
Clemson football hosted their annual fan appreciation day. Lines stretched as far as the eye could see. Many fans had begun lining up around ten o'clock last night in hopes to snag a picture or to have a piece of memorabilia signed by the Tigers star quarterback, Trevor Lawrence.
One fan I got the opportunity to speak with came from Charleston for the chance to get Trevor to sign his football. "I got here around ten this morning, and the line to see Trevor was already incredibly long. This guy is the real deal, and I am ready to see what he does this year. I went to every game last season and will be doing the same this season," he said.
Jim and Lisa Baker brought their five-year-old son, Jackson from Spartanburg to see the Wide Receivers. Jackson told me that he was most excited to see Tee Higgins. "Tee is my favorite player, and I can't wait to meet him," he said. His father added, "He looks up to Tee, every sport Jackson plays, he wants to be number five, just like Tee. As a father, I admire the way that Tee carries himself on and off the field. I cannot think of a better role model for my son."
A group of friends had come to Clemson from Greenville to get an autograph from Travis Etienne. "Travis is hands down my favorite player," one of the girls said with a smile as she proudly sported a Travis Etienne Jersey and had another tucked under her arm for a signature. Her friend chimed in and said that she couldn't wait to move down the line and get an autograph from John Simpson. "He's such a great guy. I am sad that we are losing him after this year.
One little girl, who was there with her mom, eyes lit up at the sight of the Clemson cheerleading squad. After hugs and a lot of pictures later her mom told me that her daughter cheers for the local Central-Clemson Recreation department and always says that one day she, herself will become a Clemson cheerleader.
I hadn't been to a fan appreciation day since my sophomore year of high school, and it got harder for me to go as I went off to college. It brought me back to my childhood of standing in the heat to take a picture with Cullen Harper or CJ Spiller. As I watched children's eyes light up at the sight of their favorite players, it brought me back to a place I hadn't been in such a long time.
The players take notice of this too. "It's special," senior offensive tackle Tremayne Anchrum said. "Because to these kids, we are the big man on campus; we're these heroes, we are people who they look up too. That's really important, how we portray ourselves and how we interact with them. They are the future, and it's important that we set the example. Because that's the example that they will follow.
Fan appreciation day is just as special for the players as it is the fans. "Fan day is an absolutely abnormal experience for us," says Anchrum. "We have a sense of duty to our fans that we need to give back to them because, without them, our passion for playing would not be the same. They give us the motivation and the energy that fills the stadium that is so unique to Clemson, that gives us the energy to go out there an dominate every Saturday."
"My hands are all stretched out. I've been doing some finger push-ups, but I think that I am ready to sign some autographs," said Anchrum.
Anchrum saw the line that was waiting for Trevor Lawrence and said "He's a superstar, Trevor is a really good guy and he is going to give it all he's got today. You know, I should go over there and get one myself."
"This right here is about team comradery. This is where we cut loose and interact with the fans and interact with each other, which is just as important. Team chemistry is just as important," Anchrum said.
The Tigers will head back to practice Monday as they continue their preparation for Georgia Tech on the 29th.
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