Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Flat Susie and the National Championship Adventure

First, I need to get something off my chest: THE TIGERS WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Woo hoo! I'm still on cloud nine! Whew. Okay, now that I've gotten that out there, have I got some things to share with you.

Do you know about the Flat Stanley Project? It's been going on for several years now, and it's basically a classroom project that has kids create "flat" characters or versions of themselves and then mail them off to other pen pals and track their journey and adventures. With a still broken ankle (dang you, fibula!) and ticket prices soaring to over $1000 a ticket, I decided that I was not able to attend the College Football National Championship game this week. So I created my very own Flat Susie to go in my place and cheer on the Clemson Tigers.

My first order of business was to create a flat version of moi and get her ready to roll.

I'm embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to get this little poster board vixen up to par. Her hairstyle took as long as the real Susie.

The back of her shirt is an ode to perhaps my favorite Clemson player, Ben Boulware. #10 is not just an awesome linebacker; he's also passionate, fierce, funny, and clearly lives and speaks with zero filter. Like Flat Susie's shirt says, he's my spirit animal.

I am always one to accessorize, and now that my creation was almost complete and looking so fetching, I decided to add a diamond (a.k.a. aluminum foil) ring...to let the other paper dolls know she was taken. Sorry flat bachelors, everywhere.

Then it was time to send Flat Susie on her way and let her do her thing. Spread your wings and fly, little bird. Or in this case, little paper craft project that half my friends think is nuts.

I mailed her to my friend Despina, who possessed both a fantastic sense of humor and tickets to the playoff game. She agreed, undaunted, to show my little doppelganger a good time and report back with plenty of pictures. Side note: this is a heinous picture of real Susie. That is not a sweat ring around my collar, it's a shadow, my eyebrows are nonexistent, and I clearly did not fix my hair that day. It's what happens when you pour your heart and soul into a project. No wonder artists usually look like homely hell.

I asked Des to take whatever pictures she thought captured the experience. The pair started out the day tailgating with the Clemson family.

First picture of the day: in Tampa and getting into the spirit of game day.

High-fiving with a fellow fan at the tailgate.

Flat Susie noticed a definite onesie trend happening. Football and fashion collide?

Soon, the sun went down and it was time to head to the stadium.
She doesn't look nervous, but believe me, we all were.

As you can see, Flat Susie had a front row seat for all the action.
Here she is watching the Tigers warm up.

Raymond James stadium is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and there is a giant pirate ship in the stands that fires a cannon every time the Buccaneers score. Ahoy, mates!

ESPN was close by, broadcasting the pregame show. 
Flat Susie looked on (and was thrilled that Corso did not pick the Tigers to win).

And then managed to meet Peyton Manning! Wow!
(Peyton seems a little starstruck by Flat Susie. Just saying.)

The national  championship trophy. Eyes on the prize, Flat Susie!

Ben Boulware (who was the defensive MVP of the game, by the way) has been called the "emotional spark plug" of the team. The next time Clint tells me I'm being overly dramatic, I'm going to tell him I'm an emotional spark plug, too. 

This is not just any crazed fan with a Tiger paw shaved into his chest.
Coincidentally, this is my friend Ben Manning. Nice manscaping, Ben!

This Spartan didn't have a horse in the race, so to speak, but he said he attends every national championship game. I can't imagine how he can afford it, but I admire his commitment.

Flat Susie loves the Tiger band. Tiger Rag is "the song that shakes the Southland,"
and Eye of the Tiger is one of her top workout songs. 

Meeting Deshaun Watson's mom, Deanne.
I hope Flat Susie told her what a wonderful job she did raising her son.

The Tiger Cub wanted to meet Flat Susie, too. This little cardboard coquette sure gets around.

Joining the Tiger cheerleaders postgame.
I'm surprised they didn't ask Flat Susie to join the squad--maybe she's not quite flexible enough?

And last, but certainly not least, here is my one-dimensional counterpart with Kirk Herbstreit after the Tigers clinched the title. You two look good surrounded by orange and purple confetti!

When I came up with the idea of sending Flat Susie to the game, I had no idea what an adventure she would have! I wanted to find some way to feel included in the fun and festivities, and needless to say, I was not disappointed. I'm fairly certain that Flat Susie had way more excitement and adventure than real Susie could have managed--and I like to think she brought Clemson good luck in the process (but don't get your hopes up, Flat Susie...the next time the Tigers play for a national title, this Susie is the one who's headed to the game)!

I need to say a special thank you to my sweet friend Despina Lamas, who took Flat Susie for the ride of her life. You went above and beyond (as usual)! And of course, congratulations to Coach Swinney and the 2016 College Football Playoff National Champions. It's always a great day to be a Clemson Tiger!


  1. I love everything about this!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for that! It was a fun way to still feel like part of the game!

  3. Our kids have sent Flat Stanley all over the world! What a creative way to capture the game! Congrats to Flat Susie and Despina for hitting all the hot spots and celebs

  4. I hate to admit it, but I am so jealous of flat Susie! Unreal!


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