Longer ago than I care to remember I left home and headed for Tallahassee and Florida State University. Since graduating I’ve remained a Seminole fan but never returned to campus until now at the invitation of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
The weekend just happened to be Homecoming, and it was great fun experiencing all the hype surrounding a football game. In case you don’t know, Seminole football is big stuff and on Saturdays the huge stadium becomes a sea of rabid garnet and gold fans chopping and chanting to the rhythm provided by the Marching Chiefs.
Chief Osceola incites the crowd when he comes charging onto the field riding Renegade and plants the spear in the middle of the field. As with any college, there is so much tradition steeped in the rituals.
Together they share the motto “Unconquered” depicted in this bronze sculpture outside the stadium. I learned in conversation with members of the tribe that for the Seminoles it relates to the fact they are the only unconquered tribe in the US. With the exception of one tribe that lives in Oklahoma, the rest, numbering about 3,000, are spread among six groups that reside in south Florida.
Being on campus was about more than football. It revived so many memories and made me think once again about my life and how different it might have been without the experience of those four years. Leaving home and going to college opened new doors and gave me surprising opportunity all of which contributed to a growing confidence and an evolving sense of self. Armed with that and an appreciation for learning, I left the university unafraid of the future. As years have passed and I reflect on the events that have defined my life, I know that much of the credit goes to those Tallahassee years.
As I observed the youngsters who are now walking the grounds of FSU, I couldn’t help but wonder where their college experience would lead them and if they have any idea how lucky they are to be where they are. I wondered what they would take away and if in years to come they would feel their years at FSU were a life changing experience.
I suppose all of us have those moments or years that make special impact on our life and allow us to move forward with confidence. For me, they began at FSU and I am grateful. Where did your special moments begin?
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