As many people know the period after the draft up until around July is a really boring time to be a football fan. I mean there's mini camps, player signings, injury reports, heated debates about this vet or that vet that once released should be signned or not be signned. But there's not anything that rivals opening day or even a preseason game. Now Im pretty new to CSR so I don't know alot about most fans to this site so I thought I'd take a shot and see if anyone else would write there own Origin story.
I guess my story would start around 1987, I'd just turned 6 and was finally allowed to watch Sunday Football with my Dad. Now Sunday and Monday's were the only time my dad didn't work so in order to spend time together we would watch football and the go outside and toss the pigskin around. A couple years later when I started understanding the game more my dad asked me what team I wanted to root for. Now living in Oregon we had the Seattle SeaChickens, I mean Seahawks, the 49ers or the Raiders. None appealed to me so I asked my dad what his favorite team was and he said the Dolphins. So I thought long and hard and said Dan Marino. No team just one favorite player.
So from there on wether we played Flag Football or Little League Iwas always the QB and had a pretty good arm too. Unfortunately I stopped growing at 5'11 so life as an NFL QB and dreams of being the next Marino were gone. Come around to the year 1995 and I was the only guy on are Football team without a team to root for, so for the whole of the 95 season I watched every game I could and decided that the Steelers were my team because of one man, Kevin Greene, I mean he hit Favre so hard he spit up blood so what wasn't there to like about him.
The start of the 1996 season I come to find out that he had signed with the Panthers in the offseason so began a quest to see if the Panthers were worthy of becoming my favorite team. Turns out I only needed one game. Sept. 22 against the 49ers, a team at the time I hated more than any other because they were my younger brother's favorite team, I remember asking my Dad who the FG kicker was and he said John Kasay and my reponse was that he was a Seahawk.
That proceeded into an explanation of the Expansion Draft to start a team with Vet. players and I thought woo this guy kicks ass then I got to see the Defense play. Sam Mills leveling Young for the sack, Brett Maxie's Int. returned for 35yds and Greene playing, man I was hooked, line, and sinker. For Xmas I got my first jersey, Sam Mills which I still own, and every Xmas there after came a long line of jeresies.
Fast forward to 1998 I was still playing High School Football except as the starting ILB, like my hero Mills, and while I was pretty good playing for a small town High School was getting me no College offers so I decided then and there I would join the Army. So in 1999 one year before I graduated I Enlisted. My Recruiter asked if I had a preferred duty station and I asked about about Base's around North Carolina. This lead me to Fort Bragg where for any home game I could get tickets for I went. Fast forward again to Sept 7, 2003.
Now for most of my Army career I consider myself a daredevil which most of the time landed me in surgery which landed me in physical therapy and meeting my future wife. Now Sept 7 happened to be our first date and I was able to land sideline tickets on the visitor side of the field, this is not to say I wanted to sit on that side but my wife's hometown team is the Jacksonville Jaguars so I thought it behooved me to get tickets on that sideline not the Panthers sideline, turns out smart move on my part if I say so myself.
After a scoreless first half I damn near gave up hope until we rallied to a second half victory and even more important a second date. Come around to the back half of the 2006 season because of my reckless abandonment the Army decided to part ways with damn fine Solider because the felt that a guy who tore both ACL/MCL in both legs, 7 head injuries, spinal fusion and torn rotator cuff was not someone who could be combat ready and put other soldiers in harm's way.
During this time my wife was in her last year of here enlistment and I was having a pretty crappy time about being discharged and having to go though more therapy that my 2nd and 3rd favorite Panthers of all time, John Kasay and Brad Hoover came by the hospital to meet with us fallen soldiers and my wife convinced them to come by my room and give me one hell of a motivational speech that if for no other reason then to prove the Army wrong and to prove these two men right I got off my ass completed therapy, moved back home and opened a small Diner.
Come around to the present day my wife and I are 90 days and counting from the birth of our first children, twins one boy and one girl, that I'm secretly turning into Panther fans by replacing my wife ipod that she puts around her belly so that the children will come out smarter then there old man by listening to boring lectures so I replace hers with my ipod that has downloaded to it soundbites for all the Panther games I could find. I really hope this works because all be damned if they turn into Jaguar fans.
So ends the story of the Marino turned Panther fan. I hope more people will follow along and write their own stories because I would love to hear how all of you became Panther fans.