How Sitting Alone At a National Championship Game Changed Me
As soon as the Playstation Fiesta Bowl concluded on December 31st (well technically January 1st by the time it was all over), I knew I had to go to the National Championship in Tampa, Florida. I came to the school a year ago, experiencing an undefeated regular season as a Tiger and was unable to go to Arizona for the final. Apparently that was a blessing in disguise because of the outcome.
As last week continued to go on and ticket prices increased drastically over $1000 per ticket, my hope in attending the game was diminishing. My mom was constantly on my case about just getting a ticket and sitting alone seeing that none of my friends were willing to pay the price of admission, arguing that ticket prices would go down as the time leading up the game carried on.
I finally gave in on Friday morning after my mom found a relatively cheap ticket (I say cheap very loosely here) in the Clemson end zone. I bought the ticket and the damage was done. I would be sitting alone at the National Championship game come that Monday.
If anyone knows me, you know I don’t like being alone. I actually hate it to be quite frank. I don’t like not knowing people around me and it makes me uncomfortable. Being alone is probably one of my biggest fears, but also biggest downfalls. When I’m walking or sitting alone I look down on my phone to distract myself from how foreign my surroundings are and hide from the people I don’t know yet.
When the game came I had no choice but to embrace the fact that I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to the game unlike so many others and I climbed the bleachers to my seat. Having a seat to myself forced me to interact with those around me, and I honestly had never felt more comfortable with myself. The people around me were total strangers, but they didn’t feel like it come the end of the game. We all shared an obvious common interest in Clemson and were able to discuss what was unfolding in front of us and react together. When we were down we were all crushed and wondering what was going on with our offense. When we were up we were all standing together, cheering and high-fiving the people around us.
I realized that it was okay to be alone and not be reliant on my phone since I had no other choice. (It happened to be running on extremely low battery and the only way to find my friends at the end of the game was to preserve any battery life left that I could.)
I was okay being alone because I wasn’t actually alone. I was able to meet the people around me, share a little bit about my life and experiences and listen to everyone around me sharing when they graduated from Clemson and how many games they had been to ever since. I was okay listening and meeting others without having another person next to me to rely on as my crutch. I cheered and talked with everyone; not just my friends.
I was at a game I will never forget that taught me a lesson I will never forget