There’s at least one common trait amongst myself and fellow Carolina Panther fans: We are not bandwagon fans.
Yeah, we reached one Super Bowl (the Lions, Browns, Jags and Texans can’t say that) in the 2003 season and have reached three NFC championship games, including our second season in the league.
We’ve experienced 1 15 seasons and 12 4 seasons (including last year). There have been ups and downs, arrests (weren’t the late ’90s rough?), great players, cool nicknames and seven, yes seven, too many 7 9 seasons.
Oh there’s a lot of yelling at the TV at my house on Sundays (and the occasional Monday and Thursday nights). Many games I remember having to leave the room out of anger, anxiety or both. Yes, I’ve been told I take Panther football way too seriously.
But through it all I never waiver.
No, I am a Panther fan because I’m a born and raised Carolina girl. I grew up in a small town less than an hour from Bank of America Stadium, and since officially coming to Charlotte in 1996, I have attended at least one game almost every season.
The majority of the games I attend are with my brother, who is possibly a bigger fan than me. Whether I’m on Georgia and he’s in North Carolina or stationed overseas on Army duty, we always find ways to talk about the Panthers. I treasure our special football bond. (Who wouldn’t want to brag to their friends their sister knows more about football than most guys?)
I still proudly own and occasionally wear my Sam Mills No. 51 and Jake Delhomme No. 17 jerseys, and I will never give up my Cam Newton No. 1 jerseys.
My 21st birthday was the one Super Bowl the Panthers were in, and probably my greatest memory, despite our loss. I will age myself here, but on Feb. 1, 2004, I legally sat at a bar, drank my Bud Light and watched with excitement and angst as the Panthers took on the Patriots. I cheered and unfortunately cried, but just watching the Panthers in the Super Bowl was the best birthday gift this football gal could have ever asked for. (By the way Rivera, my birthday in 2015 is Super Bowl Sunday, no pressure.)
I’ve watched football as long as I can remember so to say I’m a lifelong Panther fan would be factual incorrect, as I was in middle school when the Panthers came into the league. I grew up a Miami Dolphin fan mainly because my father was a huge Dan Marino guy and because for three years I was a local Troutman Dolphin cheerleader same colors and all.
These days, I route for Peyton Manning and my fantasy players every week, as long as they aren’t playing Carolina. I hate fellow NFC South teams, can’t stand, but respect, the Patriots, just feel flat out sorry for Jaguars, Browns and Raiders fans and take pleasure in the Cowboys’ miseries.
When the Panthers came to town, I had to cheer for my home town team. With just under 20 years under their belt, the Panthers have produced great players and seasons, overcome on the field and off the field adversities and more than anything, entertained me Sunday after Sunday, year after year. She how do you write an essay about yourself didn’t even know that tuvan throat singing existed