Saturday was the first Clemson football home game we have been able to attend this season, and it was a great one. ESPN's College Game Day broadcasted live from Bowman Field, two college girlfriends joined us for an afternoon of tailgating, two more friends were in town for the game and I was able to spend time catching up with them, and my friend John had a birthday tailgate to celebrate turning 40. The day was filled with festivities, all leading up to an 8:00 kickoff--a night game in Death Valley, with #3 Louisville coming to town to take on my #5 Clemson Tigers.
|Our first tailgate of the season, and I think it turned out pretty well.|
|After all, what's a tailgate without a few accessories?|
|All decked out in our game day colors.|
|I got to spend some quality time with Sharon, who was my roommate our freshman year at Clemson.|
|From the birthday tailgate--what a perfect cake!|
|Happy 40th Birthday to John! Thanks for such a great tailgate!|
After all that afternoon fun, it was finally game time. You really could feel the excitement in the air. Our national championship dreams were at stake and so were theirs. Both quarterbacks are Heisman potential, and this showdown would likely put one out in front of the other. It was a must-win. One ESPN analyst said it was the best game he ever saw in person. Others called it "electrifying" and "thrilling." We stood practically the entire game and the Clemson crowd roared for four whole quarters. After some heart-stopping moments, the Tigers won, 42-36.
|All smiles after a Tiger victory...just before we headed down to the field.|
Clemson fans, including this one, were ecstatic! Win or lose, rushing onto the field after the game is still a tradition at my school. I'll admit that I've done it plenty of times before, but because it's not easy to gain access to the field, I usually only venture to try it after a big win--like our win over Louisville. My friends, Clint, and I hurried down the stadium stairs towards the field. Last year, after our win over Notre Dame, I got to the wall between the stands and the field and froze. It took me about five full minutes to get up enough courage to jump down. Oh, but not this time. I decided it was best to just get it over with and go. I pulled my dress down as best I could and just hurled myself over the top of that wall.
|Just to prove I wasn't the only one who wanted on that field post game.|
Have you ever hurt your foot so badly you could feel it in your teeth? That's kind of what it was like once I hit the ground. But I was determined not to ruin a fun night, and so I insisted it was just a sprain. Even when the swelling started and that ankle got big, fast. One of the trainers on the field came over and agreed: probably just a sprain. In the spirit of Clemson family, he told us someone would drive us in one of the athletic department golf carts back to our car, to avoid walking on my bum leg. We picked up some stray sideline ice (I'm basically part of the team now, right?) and used Clint's handkerchief as a makeshift bandage, and off we went. I did manage to grit my teeth and walk out of the stadium to the golf cart, all the while insisting I was fine. (I would have taken a picture of our group in the orange and white golf cart, but I was so focused on not throwing up from the pain that it kind of slipped my mind).
After just three short hours at nearby Oconee Memorial Hospital, during which this impatient patient tried to leave multiple times, the x-ray revealed that I did, in fact, break my fibula (as a side note, we were told there were three other people in the ER who had also gotten hurt trying to get on the field). A most disappointing diagnosis. I remained sure that they were wrong and that by the time we got back to Charlotte to an orthopedic doctor, I would be walking around and fit as a fiddle. I left Clemson with a souvenir set of crutches and this lovely splint:
Since it's my right ankle, I'm not able to drive, so we channeled Driving Miss Daisy all the way home, with me piled in the back seat and my chauffeur/nurse/husband probably regretting that "in sickness and in health" part of our vows. Monday morning, we arrived for our appointment at Ortho Carolina where I felt smug in the fact that while I entered on crutches, I would walk out to the car practically healed upon my exit. I just wasn't sure exactly how to do that since putting any pressure on my foot seemed unbearable. Still, modern medicine is full of miracles.
Another x-ray later and I got to choose the color for my cast. Yes, cast. Thankfully, this break doesn't require surgery, but I will need to wear a cast for three weeks before going back and being put in a walking boot. I don't think I even need to tell you what color cast I chose, right?
After all, since this happened in conjunction with the football game, I'm considering it a sports related injury. Even my doctor concurs. He and several nurses got a kick out of the orange cast. I'm glad I could spread my team spirit around the Foot and Ankle Institute on a Monday morning. Solid orange, indeed.
The very last trinket I got with this whole adventure (besides a trendy chic shower bench and some thigh high baggies to go over my cast) was a new set of wheels. Since I can't drive, and crutches are terrible, meet my new mode of transportation for the next three weeks.
It's called a knee scooter, and I'll be giving out free rides to anyone who wants to come visit. It works just about anywhere except for small spaces, which turns out is most of the house. I can, however, wheel and deal like a pro around that new kitchen of ours. Just when I thought I couldn't feel any more awkward or silly, here comes the scooter. But you all know that I live the glam life, so I suppose this shouldn't exactly come as a surprise.
I believe this injury will keep me benched for homecoming in two weeks. And that was probably my last foray onto the field after a game. If anyone needs me, the dog, my scooter, and I are all parked in my living room with "toes over nose" as the orthopedist says. I'm consoling myself with the fact that Saturday night in Clemson, this fan really did leave it all on the field. GO Tigers!