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A Time to Be a Foolish Dad
Winn Collier
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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Our two boys were born while we lived in Clemson, South Carolina. Though we moved to Virginia a number of years ago, my son Seth has remained loyal to the Clemson Tigers. He wears his jerseys and checks the weekly ESPN rankings and sits beside me, glued to the TV, through every thrilling and agonizing moment of every game. Several months ago, Seth began to beg: "Dad, I want time for just me and you. Will you take me to Clemson for a game?"

Of course, then, I knew exactly what my birthday gift to Seth must be. I pulled him out of school on Friday, making this the ultimate coup. "Dad," he said, "I bet every kid in my class wishes he were me right now." What dad doesn't want to give his son a hundred of those moments?

After loading up with Taco Bell, his favorite, we made our 6.5-hour road trip to Clemson. I'd been unable to locate tickets through my usual connections, but I planned to grab discounted seats from scalpers before the game. If you wait long enough, you can always snag seats on the cheap. Perhaps this would be the appropriate place to say that I'm—how shall I put this—frugal. I prefer free tickets. I manage with discounted tickets. However, I am genetically unable to fathom paying face value to watch college students toss a ball back and forth.

We bunked at a friend's house, and on Saturday morning, we drove to the game. In true Clemson fashion, several square miles surrounding the stadium were afire with purple and orange energy. We parked a mile-and-a-half away so I could avoid the "Park here for $25" price-gouging (see frugal above). We found the normal spot where I've snagged tickets before, and I had to hold Seth's hand, the massive crowd was so dense and forceful. There were few scalpers, and those few demanded exorbitant prices. After much searching and several dead-ends, Seth panicked. "Dad, are we going to find tickets?"

"Of course, Seth, don't you worry."

We continued through the swarming mass and trekked around the stadium, scanning anxiously for anyone holding a pair of tickets in the air. We spotted thousands and thousands of people. We saw precious few tickets. "Are you sure, Dad?" Seth asked, distressed. "Are we going to miss the game?"

I spotted the ticket office and thought I should at least check the possibilities, as I'd been told they offered a $10 special on kid's tickets. We waded through the long, long line and when we arrived at the counter, the ticket lady delivered bad news. "I'm sorry," she said, "the discount tickets are gone. Two tickets will be $70." There was no way on God's green earth I was paying $70.

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Curt Schleicher

July 29, 2014  9:30am

My actions and my word…….One of my regrets in fathering 2 daughters is not being the cool dad…. With such vividness i can recall my refusal to be part of the insanity that surrounded ' The Hansons' craze of the '90's. And if i had my wallet back, i'd purchase my seat right next to my 2 daughters & my wife , 70,000 other screaming fans………My daughter's words this past week came back to visit me this past week, "Didn't you and mom always teach us to keep our word on the promises we made?" , echoed my older daughter's voice in my ear. Yes , we had. And she'd remembered it by gosh. Our efforts had paid dividends. Dearest Jesus, Allow me to determine when it's important to give in to my set ways & bend but not break your word! In Jesus' name Amen.

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Mark Mcclendon

July 26, 2014  2:41am

I have learned through hard practice that to come through with my promises to my son is of greatest importance. The issue I see in this story is dad said we would see the game and he swollowed his pride and came through on his promise. My son really counts on me keeping my promise whether it is big or small. I practice with the small things first. Good luck Dads out there in moi land.. mark m

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