3 and Out?
Posted on 15 Oct 2009 by ashleykaufman
photo: Tree & J Hensdill; view this photo on Flickr
After the Panthers’ dismal playoff loss to the Cardinals last season and 0–3 start this year, I contemplated jumping off the Cardiac Cats bandwagon. I shared the frustration of many fans that the team looked totally out of sync, and had no desire to witness yet another brutal defeat. So on Sunday, I set out to watch the game against the Redskins with a “que sera sera” attitude after weeks of yelling at the TV. I stayed calm if disinterested for most of the first half, dividing my focus between swiffering the kitchen floor and sneaking peeks at the game. But after watching the Panthers’ display of heart on the field, I abandoned the cleaning gear and my half-hearted attempt to become a fair weather fan.
Before moving to Charlotte, I didn’t know the difference between a touchdown and a safety. But then I arrived in the Queen City in fall 2003, just in time for football season and the Panthers’ thrilling run to the Superbowl. My first home in Charlotte in 3rd Ward was right in the midst of the action, directly across from the team practice field and Ericsson (as it was named at the time) Stadium. Moving from San Francisco where the 49ers stadium is located south of the city, I was amazed at the energy and excitement the team brought to uptown. Soon I was swept up in the momentum of the winning season, watching entire games with my football fanatic friends and actually understanding (most) of the action.
After my experiment in aloof football watching last weekend, I realized that cheering for the Panthers is an integral part of my life in Charlotte. Despite my New England roots, the Panthers (not the Patriots) inspired me to view the Superbowl as more than just a reason to make baked brie. Hopefully, this week’s win will revitalize the team and keep John Fox et al from joining Jake Delhomme on the Craigslist want ads. Win or lose, I look forward to an exciting ride, and will keep my fingers crossed that good Jake is back for an extended stay.