Big Thursday and My Clemson Cousin – a Proposal

So itís Rivalry Week, and itís got me thinking.† Iím looking forward to the big game of course, and am hopeful for a Carolina victory.† But Iím not looking forward to our family Thanksgiving meal this year, and for good reason.

You see, about half of my family are Clemson fans.† I know, itís shocking, but it sort of makes sense given the clan from which I hail.† You see, my first cousin is currently in jail for (allegedly) shooting a guy, and Iíve got an uncle (by marriage) that died with a half-empty bottle of Thunderbird in his hand. †Both big Clemson fans.† And then Iíve got this other cousin.† About my age. Never married.† He wears orange and purple tee-shirts all the time (in the fall he dons matching sweatpants, in the spring he starts coupling the shirts with ragged blue jean shorts).†

This guy is ruining my Thanksgiving, and it hasnít even started yet.

As in years past, he will start in on the Clemson nonsense before the turkey is even carved.† You know the stuff of which I speak; the totally one-sided, impervious to reason, excuse-riddled grandiose bull droppings that only come from the madly loyal, yet totally ignorant, fan.† And while most of my relatives will try to focus the dinner conversation on family news (that one guy is in jail, for crying out loud) Tee-Shirt Boy will not be deterred.† Itís all gonna end in a stupid argument, and itís not good for family harmony or our collective digestion.

So Iíd like to propose something:† Letís move the Clemson-Carolina game to a different date.† Maybe one not associated with the forced-spending of time with educationally-challenged relatives.† I know itís been discussed in the past, Coach Spurrier even mentioned the idea of moving it to the first game of the year in his press conference the other day.†

Put me down with the HBC on this one, but not necessarily at the first of the year.† See, my family has a big end-of-summer cookout each year, and that would only move the Tee-Shirt Boy problem around on the calendar.† Solves nothing, really.

I want to move the game back to Big Thursday.†

For those of you not familiar with the term, Big Thursday was the date of the Clemson-Carolina game until 1959.† It was the Thursday during the annual State Fair, and it brought the stateís biggest sporting event (sorry, Darlington) into the Stateís biggest carnival, exposition,

Coach Howard, The Most Clemson Man in the World, says goodbye to Big Thursday

and food fest.† ††The problem was it was always a home game for the Gamecocks, so the Orange and Purple crowd brought pressure through the General Assembly and had the tradition abolished.

Now Iím not advocating that the game always be played in Cola-town again.† No, that would only happen every other year.† In those years where the game is being played in Clemson, we can all treat it just like we do now Ė as an educational and historical trip into the setting of the James Dickey novel, Deliverance. †

But on those other years, those State Fair years, the game would take on a festival-like atmosphere, with fun for more than just football fans.† A side benefit would be that the visiting Clemson faithful could enjoy tailgating fare of funnel cakes and turkey legs Ė trust me when I say this would be a HUGE upgrade from their usual meals.

But I keep thinking about the fair rides Ė those dangerous, rickety, operated by connoisseurs of methamphetamine, fair rides.† Those things are death-traps, really.† A fatal accident waiting to happen.

Itís those rides that have got me thinking:† Iím pretty sure I could get Tee-shirt Boy to ride one.

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