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Yesterday, Bryon, my husband, and I were coming back from Asheville after being there for the 2016 Bike Summit. I knew that our home NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, would be playing their first home game of the season at one o’clock, and wanted to be home for that. This is pretty ironic because I used to capital H HATE football. Bryon loves to remind me that I even wrote a speech about not liking football for my college public speaking class.

I think my feelings about football started to shift when my son, Evan, became obsessed with all things Carolina Panthers, which happened a few years ago. I suspect for Evan it was more about the clothes and other paraphernalia, then about the actual sport of football. Evan even decided we should redecorate his room in Panther’s teal and silver, with matching bedding and all the accessories. He also insisted on only wearing Panther’s clothing. That year Santa brought Evan a toothbrush, water bottle, socks, stocking cap, hoodie, and stuffed animal, all Carolina Panthers. He even wore a Panthers tie in his picture with Santa.

In our quest to acquire additional Panthers gear, we often visited the team store outside Bank of America stadium. We met and spoke with the employees who came to recognize us over time. Slowly the Carolina Panthers snuck into my heart and I began to recognize the names of the players and actually care if they won or lost!

Which brings me to this past weekend, when I was in a hurry to get home for the football game and Bryon was like, “meh”. Luckily we made it home in plenty of time and the Panthers were victorious over the San Fransico 49ers with a score of 46-27, which is a score that has never occurred before in NFL history. It was an exciting game right up until the last few minutes, which is typical of the Panthers and has earned them the nickname the “Cardiac Cats”. ┬áNext Sunday is another home game and I will look forward to it all week even though I used to hate football!


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