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By Hannah Hank

If you’ve been following my content for The Roar you’ll know I’ve been discussing the mundane, the mess, and the magic of college athletics from the standpoint of an international, senior student-athlete. An experience that goes hand in hand with the urgency and pang in your chest of knowing you’re living in what will one day be—the good old days. Given, on some days it does not feel like these are the good old days. On some days your legs feel as though they have metamorphosed into lead and you do not want to haul your you-know-what up and down the court—but we find the strength to anyway.

Like with a lot of things that come with being a student-athlete, senior night is nothing short of bittersweet too. A night where you step onto your homecourt as a product of the sum of the good and the bad of your career. I mentioned in an earlier piece for The Roar how I knew this moment would hold extra weight for me because my parents would be there to see me compete in person for the first time since my freshman year.

Our senior night was spent upsetting the ranked no.23 Florida State 74-61. Littlejohn was loud and full like a beverage from All in Coffee shop on a sunny afternoon. Tigers came and shared the moment with us and stuck around for the post-game proceedings.

I stood waiting in the tunnel cheering on my fellow seniors and Donna Bullok too as we waited for our names to be called to walk across to AB, receive our flowers and frame, and be photographed. I remember thinking about my conversation with my parents at dinner the night before—we’d somehow managed to book a reservation at the hotel Florida State was staying at so they stared us down like steak on a dinner plate. My Mum had joked about trying to not cry during the presentation, and I about faceplanting, and my Dad was goofing around about some march that’d keep us in sync leading with the right foot.

I smiled at the thought, turned to my Mum on my left and planted a kiss on her cheek, and leaned into my Dad’s shoulder on the right. I knew there was no way I could get the words out to say thank you then and there without combusting into little embers they would have to collect with a dustpan. It was looking out at my teammates that moved me because it is the people that make a program—our program I had given my whole heart to for the past four years. With my Dad whispering “right” we headed over to AB and I let out a laugh shaking my head. I gave her a stuffed galah so she wouldn’t forget her Aussie mate. Not that I think she could if she tried after my stint with her here in Clemson.

Senior night was the full circle moment I knew it would be and I’m grateful I’m a Clemson Tiger.

More ball to play.

Catcha, Hannah Hank