Sideline Report with Emily from Clemson
Hey y’all! My name is Emily Blumer and I’m a senior all girl cheerleader at Clemson University in Clemson, SC. I’ve been a member of UCA Staff for two years and have had the privilege of working with cheerleaders at camps, stunt clinics, competitions and tryouts all over the United States. I grew up in Dallas, GA for most of my life, but my parents raised me to be a true Clemson fan, so when it came time to decide on colleges I knew just where I wanted to be!
Nothing is sweeter than being able to cheer on your favorite team with your best friends, and I’m so excited to share this experience with you. If you’re not a Clemson fan when you arrive at game day in Death Valley, you’ll become one before you leave!
Warming up in Death Valley
We begin the day warming up our stunts and tumbling, so that when all of the exciting traditions take place before game time, we can focus on interacting with our amazing fans. On the field, we go over the skills that we’ll be doing throughout the game. Our coach puts together a list of stunts, pyramids and tumbling skills that we perform in order, so there is no confusion as to what’s coming next. Once we are done warming up, we get a quick break and head out of the stadium for our appearances.
Before the game, we split up into different groups so we can have a presence in many different places at one time. The only people that love Clemson as much as we do are our fans, and we love spending time with them!
Some of us met with recruits to share why Clemson should be #1 on their list, while others joined the Tiger Band and dance team for a parade into the Stadium. For this game, I was chosen to make an appearance at the President’s Suite. When we got there, we visited with fans and answered their questions. Later, we had the privilege of introducing ourselves over a microphone and doing a couple of cheers. The last thing we did was lead the infamous Cadence Count! This is a huge tradition at Clemson. It’s really fun to yell with our Tiger friends and family in support of our university.
After appearances, we line up on the field for pregame. The fans are starting to pour into the stadium and the energy is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced! Throughout player introductions, we do stunts and tumbling to keep the crowd pumped up. When the band comes out, our adrenaline starts racing. We perform dances to the historic Tiger Rah and the song that rocks the Southland, our fight song, Tiger Rag. We then join our Clemson fans, who have painted the stadium orange, by putting our arms around each other and singing our Alma Mater.
This particular tradition has been referred to as the most exciting 25 seconds in college football! When we see the team buses pull up to the gate, we race to the base of the hill. We then pull out our flag, jumping up and down and waving it in the air as the band plays Tiger Rag. The crowd is going crazy, and then the cannon goes off! Coach Dabo, our football coach, kisses the rock, points to the heavens and leads the team down the hill. Each football player who is “All In” rubs Howard’s Rock and follows Dabo down the hill onto the field. Some of us run the flag in front of the team, while others tumble down the field. Thousands of orange balloons are released into the sky and the crowd is so loud that you can’t even hear the person beside you!
After running out the team, we take our spots and put stunts up for kickoff. Music is playing over the stadium speakers and the fans are on their feet, cheering loudly and showing their Tiger pride!
We start the game cheering in front of the hill, which is filled with students. We constantly interact with our crowd, using signs that read “Louder” or “Defense.” Our fans have been so loud that they’ve even stopped drives and forced turnovers because the other team can’t hear the correct signals!
During halftime this week, we invited the UNC cheerleaders to come hang out with us in the weight room. There were plenty of wraps, fruit and Gatorade out for everyone to share. It’s always fun to meet cheerleaders from other schools. We have so much in common!
When the game is over, we run with the team and all of our fans to the center of the field. Once more, with our arms linked around each other, we sing the Clemson Alma Mater. This is my favorite part of Clemson games because we really get to experience how much of a family we are – cheerleaders, students, alumni, players and Tiger fans. This Saturday night was even better because we got to celebrate a win against the Tarheels together!
You can follow more of my game day adventures @UCAemily1 on Twitter and Instagram. I’d love to hear from you! Until next time, GO TIGERS!
photos by: Dawson Powers & Glenn Spake