Dr. David W. Tonkyn
Clemson Football is Saving the World One Tiger at a Time
Pete Stone, Philosophy & English 2003
Clemson football, for true fans, goes beyond simply “something to do on Saturdays.” The aura of what it means to be part of the Clemson family is similar to how many in our state feel about belonging to a church family. Simply put, it is the culture of our state for one generation to educate the next about what it means to live as a Tiger fan and suit up for Saturdays. With the cooler weather of fall upon us, we often reflect on the individuals in our lives who passed the spirit on to us and thus connect with the passion of those who passed it on to them. We high five strangers, rush the field with friends, and bear hug loved ones. Regardless of personal political views, social status, color of our skin, a pumper or a dumper on T-net, a “woo-hooer” or not, we are still all orange and all in when it comes to our tigers.
When I first learned that there were fewer than 3200 tigers left in the entire world, I was paralyzed with fear. True, many people will casually agree that the tigers are hands down the world’s most majestic creation. However, Clemson fans will join me in understanding that growing up yelling “go tigers” has generated a special type of connection with Tigers, to the point that when you see tigers anywhere you start playing tiger rag in your mind and conjure thoughts of CJ spiller, Sammy Watkins, or perhaps William Perry. Thus, as I recovered from the shock of realizing that within the next decade Clemson could have an extinct mascot in the wild, I turned to the excitement of thinking about how the Clemson family can show the world just how magical these hills are by being the game changer in the battle to save our mascot from extinction.
Think if the Clemson family could channel the passion of those approximately 84,000 strong on game day, and the millions more across the nation, towards raising a Death Valley worthy roar for saving the tiger. Thankfully, Clemson students are already leading the way with how to do that through the group Tigers for Tigers. In fact, Clemson was the first Tiger mascot school in the nation to form such an organization. Just like we’ve led the way on the grid iron against rival tiger schools, LSU, Auburn, and Mizzou, Clemson is paved the way towards forming a national coalition of Mascot schools that is already positively impacting the fight for our mascot.
Tigers need a hero to save them now in the wild. The Clemson family supports one another, and we won’t let our mascot go extinct. Likewise, it’s only fair we rise to the occasion since this majestic creature has represented us so proudly through the years as symbolized by the beloved Clemson Paw recognized anywhere. Literally, if Clemson fans join their voice to this effort then we can spell Tigers in cadence count, fly our paw flags, and take extra pride knowing that yes, fans of a little city in the corner of South Carolina are also the difference makers in keeping Tigers king of the jungle. My evil gamecock friends often rag me about how their mascot is so original and ours so generic. I would love to tell them, that although there might be a lot of Tiger schools, Clemson is credited with being the world- leader in saving tigers from extinction. In fact there is even a Tiger for Tigers student group at USC now!
Most importantly, rather than having to explain to our grandkids how we sat back and did nothing while our mascot went extinct, I look forward to knowing that our actions as a Clemson family made the difference in helping this majestic creature again thrive. Thus, watching our Tigers take the field will bring even more reason to cheer to not only us but also the world. Indeed, Go Tigers! Yes, I’m sorry we loss to the Noles this year and the Dawgs, but the future of Clemson football looks bright, especially with all our freshmen on offense. It’s time to get all in with making the future bright for out tigers too because if we lose this game then its extinction forever. So please join this powerful movement by simply becoming a fan and supporter of Clemson Tigers for Tigers; together, let’s save our mascot from extinction. Go Tigers!
Pete Stone graduated from Clemson in 03 with a double major in Philosophy and English and a focus in communications. From Clemson he went on to Florida State University Film School but wore orange nearly every day in Tallahassee. He currently runs his own production company Stone Video Productions.
(Copyright Pete Stone 2014)