I mentioned in an earlier comment about how I defected from being a Falcons fan and traded red, black and white for black, blue and silver. Afterwards, it got me to thinking. How many of us switched sides when the Carolinas were granted a NFL franchise? What was our motivation? What was the appeal? My story is after the jump but I am curious know about everyone else. Think of this as my way of getting to know the CSR community a little better.
Growing up, it was simple. I was born in Virginia and followed two teams. The Redskins because that was the family team and the Falcons because 1) we moved to Georgia in 1987 and 2) my granddad had season tickets for a number of years. After the move to Georgia, the Falcons were the team I chose to follow because I was embracing alot of the Atlanta sports (Braves, Hawks) and was learning more about the game. I was making my own choice in who to root for on Sundays. My family moved around alot and in 1993 we found ourselves in Spartanburg, SC. As anyone knows, the region was on the cusp of being awarded a franchise and I was very excited to see what it would be like. At that point in time, there was a long period between expansion franchises before the first snap I wanted to be on the bandwagon. Despite this, I still maintained favoritism towards the Falcons and was disappointed when they both ended up in the same division. I made it work for a few years but I started feeling myself more and more conflicted. Eventually, I decided that I would stick with the home team. I loved how the team seemed to put together a competitive edge even though there were a few very forgettable seasons. Additionally, I felt the Falcons weren't doing enough to appease its fanbase or stay consistent. Granted, some could argue that the Panthers haven't fared much better, however each season I was given a reason for an optimistic outlook. That was a luxury I really didn't have an Atlanta fan. Plus, it also helped that I knew more about what was going on in Charlotte than I did in Atlanta.
I have learned alot and experienced many different things over the past decade while rocking out my wide assortment of Panther jerseys. The highlights are below and in no particular order:
- Watching the Panthers upset the defending champion 49ers in 1996
- Watching the Panthers upset the Dallas/San Francisco/any other heavily favored team in front of their fans (you should know I was generally doing the army of one thing here so I had no support during these games)
- Seeing the first Panthers playoff game and hoping for a win over a good Green Bay team
- Being the only Panther fan at the on base club in Germany watching Super Bowl XXXVIII (or as we know, the death of the halftime show...one little nipple pops out and people get fussy)
- Attending my first Panthers game at BoA in December 2008. I was on hand to see Double Trouble destroy the Lions and make a little history. Sidenote: I had a great time tailgating with the Detroit fans. Those guys are a committed bunch.
- Watching what would be an epic loss to the Cards a few months later in the playoffs. This was followed by a drunken, shell shocked walk down the beach.
- Getting excited when we drafted Jimmy Clausen in 2010. Yes, I did...thought it was a great move at the time. I know the error of my judgement and have regretted feeling that excited over one player. However, that was probably the only time JC got alot of love from us. Probably.
- Witnessing the start of the Newton Era...no need to elaborate.
So, that is my story. You know why I am here and not posting on the Falconholic blog. The Panthers have been in my life since their inception. I bleed black, blue and silver. I have alienated family, friends and the wife in the name of the Panthers. Unless, I'm incapacitated or working there is no reason why I won't have my Carolina country a$$ in front of a tv going nuts. Oh yeah, and I'm still cheering them on all by my lonesome on Sundays in front of Redskin, Raven, Giants and Patriot fans. I continue to do so despite the mocking and the jokes because I know, I am going to have the last laugh. What's your story?