For the past few weeks, the area had been awash in Carolina blue. Every night, groups of Panthers fans were featured on the local news shows. It seemed like everyone was expecting a Super Bowl run.
Not this guy.
Look, I don’t want to be a killjoy, but the 49ers did Charlotte a favor by knocking the home team off the football field and onto the golf course. Now the supposed fanatics who finally decided to attend games and watch the team can go back to ignoring anything football related for several months. I’m not bitter, but as an ardent follower of the game, I really can’t stand when halfhearted fans come out of the woodwork when a team is doing well but vanish the rest of the time.
The first time I was in the Fort Mill Times office was on the eve of the 2007 Super Bowl when they did a photo shoot of Giants fans and Patriots fans. I really don’t like the Pats, but I respect the passion of their fans. So it is fitting that I have no ill will toward the Panthers, but find the indifference of the fan base insulting.
That has benefits.
Whenever I want to go to a Giants game when they play the Panthers, tickets abound like mosquitoes near a swamp. If I have friends or business associates looking to see a game, I can actually get tickets from scalpers for half-price. Most Panthers supporters take the anti-Postal Service creed. Rain, sleet, snow, dead of night and Sundays keep them from attending. I once went to a game on Halloween and thought thousands of people went in the same costume – as empty seats.
All joking aside, if you don’t take the good with the bad, you will never really appreciate football. If I only followed a winner, I’d have never been a Giants fan. They might have been the worst team in the NFL during my formative years. I was 12 when I saw their first playoff game, which means I spent seven years watching mostly last place finishes, and I still saw every game. Heck, with four minutes left this past Sunday, half of the Panthers fans had vacated the stadium. What a way to show your thanks for an otherwise great year!
Immediately following the Panthers Super Bowl loss to the Patriots in 2003, I remember seeing several fans interviewed who seemed less than depressed at the loss. To a man, they all mentioned how they weren’t upset because they would be back to the championship game soon. Eleven years and one playoff win later, they are still waiting.
And they are probably still smiling.
You can reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to do the Cam Newton Superman pose.