Are you a diehard fan or a bandwagon supporter? Did you believe from day one, or just Dec. 1? I'm here to tell you it doesn't matter. That the tribalism and strong pejoratives directed at those who weren't on board all season are misplaced. It's time for a fanbase divided by mediocrity needs to unite in triumph, rising as one voice to care about two important numbers, 9-3 and a couple of simple words "Keep Pounding."
In the Monday Morning Report I spoke about faith. Not in religious terms, but in fervent belief. The beautiful thing about faith is an ever-present ability to be restored, provided its in conditions are conducive for it to grow. Should we chastise and shun those who lost faith in the Panthers, or welcome them back like the Prodigal Son? Yes, that's a religious reference -- but it's the best analogy I could think of.
Those who stuck around enjoy the pain, because it makes times like this all the sweeter. That's our motivation for doing this every day, every year. At a purely logical level those who left and came back are the smart ones, they budgeted their time to maximize enjoyment. We endured the pain in the hopes something better would come. The arrival of new fans shouldn't deminish our enjoyment, nor is it appropriate to lash out at them.
The Panthers are your second cousin, the struggling member of any family challenged by opportunity. Parent-teacher interviews would characterize them as "needing to apply themselves" and they would, for a while. Things would start to fall, they'd struggle once again and relapse. Along the way some of your family would give up, saying they had to get off the roller coaster. Maybe you stuck by and got hurt, but now it's time to lift your cousin up -- celebrate together, rather than point fingers at who stuck around and who didn't.
It does't matter if you're #PantherNation, #PanthersMafia or #PantherPride. It's irrelevant if you're on CSR all the time, another Panthers site, or someone who thinks I'm an ass. It's unimportant if you're wine and cheese, government cheese, or no cheese at all. This is the time to unite. To join together under the flag of midnight black and electric blue, all of us -- no matter how we got here. It's more voices to scream, more support to leverage, and most important to believe in your team.