Sometimes I look around and think to myself, “My gosh, none of us can get along”. As Americans, we are privileged to live in a country that was specifically designated as the “melting pot”, but lately it has seemed more like a giant pot of moldy leftovers. According to the media, nothing good is happening anywhere. Sex scandals, pending nuclear war, abuses of power – that’s all that they talk about as if that’s all there is to talk about.
Well, they’re wrong.
I had the opportunity to attend the ACC Championship game between Miami and Clemson this year and I left there not only on a tremendous high from Clemson winning, but also because I witnessed the America I know that night.
I freely admit that I wasn’t sure what I would see at the game. Conversation in the car on the way did hint that all of us had at least considered that bad behavior might be on display. To be honest, though, we were more curious what would happen if we ended up being the only Clemson fans in the middle of a bunch of Miami fans. It wasn’t going to stop us from
yelling cheering at every play, and we were way more concerned about whether we should eat bbq or something else. Rumor was the bbq at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte is really good.
We got to out seats and were happy to see that we shared the row with some fellow Tigers. Then, we were approached by some Miami fans who quickly pointed out we were in their seats. Turns out Row 1 is not the first row. Row A is the first row. In the process of clearing up the confusion, we of course apologized for being in the wrong seats. And guess what? They apologized for having to make us move! One of them actually winked at me said he was glad to make some Clemson friends.
Our actual seats were smack dab in the middle of a pack of Miami fans. However, we all cheered together, chatted, took pictures for each other, compared concession offerings, and GASP had a great time together. I actually felt bad that Clemson was beating the crap out of Miami, and in the 4th quarter, all the Miami fans left. Bonus – right next to us sat the team chaplain for the Carolina Panthers – what a sweet man!
I wondered which band would play the National Anthem, and I figured that a (non-partisan, so-to-speak) military band might alleviate any ill feelings if one team’s band were chosen over the other. But it turns out that BOTH bands took the field, and played the National Anthem together!
And I have to say that every single staff member of the Bank of America Stadium was courteous, helpful, pleasant, smiling (there are still people who smile in this world – well, smack my mama!), friendly…
And speaking of patriotism – in the middle of the game, an extremely talented man sang “America the Beautiful”. He wasn’t alone, though. The entire stadium sang their guts out with him. It was incredible!
Of course, the sprinkles on the icing on the cake was Clemson won. By a landslide. Totally creamed Miami. Seriously. Next they play Alabama (oh, lord!), then on to the National Championship.
I’m not sure that the utopia I witnessed at the ACC Championship game will be witnessed in these final games, but that’s okay. For one night, I saw the America I know.
Heather Kitchen, Editor-In-Chief
Heather is the editor-in-chief of Upstate Exposures Magazine. She is also the owner of Heather Kitchen Images professional photography based in Inman, South Carolina.