I reckon this town needed a big cup of coffee Tuesday morning.
I know I did.
At 2:30 a.m., I sat in the McDonald’s drive-thru with my wife, Melissa, and my best friend, Steven Pinkenburg, who had just ordered the filet o’ fish sandwich and was catching hell for doing so.
Who orders the filet o’ fish? The same guy who — at the last minute, and at an inconvenient time — takes a couple days off work to travel from Austin, Texas, to Savannah to Clemson to watch a most important college football game.
That’s Making The Effort.
And there was a lot of that going on last night.
Let’s start with our Clemson Tigers — Steven, Melissa and I are proud alums — and The Win in Tampa, Fla., 35-31, over a top-ranked Alabama team purported to have The Best Defense Ever.
You watched that effort, and you know how special it was.
But more than 500 miles to the north, in Clemson, the effort looked different.
In Backstreets Pub & Grill — my old watering hole, and where we watched the game — it was bartenders scurrying behind the bar, filling drinks and taking food orders over the din.
And when those food orders came out, it was servers snaking their way through the crowd, barking out order numbers the way Peyton Manning might call a play at the line.
And later, when the women’s toilet clogged and a stream of water wound its way toward our table, a man with a mop moved in to stem the tide.
After the game, on College Avenue, people who’d made the effort to get to the bars extra early now struggled to climb atop shoulders and lamp posts and trees.
They led cheers and chants, some of which bear repeating but are too ... colorful ... to print in this newspaper.
And they formed a giant orange and purple amoeba in the middle of downtown.
We observed the organism from the perimeter, then pushed through it to make our pilgrimage.
To Death Valley we headed, and if you’ve ever been on Clemson’s campus — and were carrying 30 extra pounds at the time — it’s a hike.
Upon arriving there were more cheers and chants.
Strangers offered to take pictures of others in front of the stadium.
Someone who worked at the stadium had turned on the lights and updated the jumbotrons — “NATIONAL CHAMPIONS,” they said.
We snapped our own photos and walked back to the car.
We went to McDonald’s.
We went to bed.
Knowing we wouldn’t get enough sleep.
Not much caring about it.
Because there’s always coffee.
And we can all get used to waking up to this.