2013 Draft Pride

Last weekend was incredible.  You can see more here, on my Aunt related blog.

But this weekend was more focused on making myself happy.

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Was the weekend of the 2013 NFL Draft & the Carolina Panthers threw a party!

I had a blast getting to check out the view from the field, inside the locker room & seeing lots of fans and Panther related activities.  The forecast didn’t look so great & Dad dragged getting up there making it later than I would have liked, but we still managed to see almost everything before the storm started up.

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Still trying to figure out where the term “Hog Mollies” came from & why suddenly everyone is using it, but otherwise the draft was exciting.  We are going to be a team unlike we have ever been before.  Should be interesting seeing what happens combining the new players with those seasoned ones that make being a Panther fan so exciting.

Some say it is only a game, but to me it is time to forget everything else and come together to cheer on a team for a few hours.   Games are a break from all the stress of life and all that chaos that comes with it.  Connection with something bigger for a little while.  A pride.  Together we hope, we cheer, we defend, we win or we lose.  Together.  Then a week later, we do it all again.  I’m not one who likes watching the game with the know-it-alls who get all in an uproar about how it should be done & get mad.  Over all it is a game.  There is money to be made, but it is there for enjoyment not stress.  I’m not on that field (normally) but I trust that those who are know much better what they are doing.

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Each game only happens once.  You can replay the clips, but even with the same guys on the same teams, it is never the same.  The suspense lies in watching to see how it all turns out this time.  Hoping that no one is injured and that all play better than they ever played before!  Surprises lurk at any moment.  You can call plays & know what can happen, but good luck trying to predict what actually does happen.  The emotions on each team member, fan or opponent’s faces shine brightly with each act and you feel alive.

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The draft for me is a time to glance at what the season could be like.  More than that, I get caught up in watching dreams come true.  For my team or for others.  Watching the draft gets me emotionally.  These guys worked harder than I can fathom to get to that point.  Support from family, friends, coaches and so many others help build them up to becoming NFL potential.  Then they get a call and it happens.  The dream is realized.  They get drafted to a professional team.  No matter what comes in life, that happened.  It only happens to a select group of people in the world, but it happens for them.  The hope and gratitude displayed by these grown men is moving.  How many people can honestly say that they had a dream and it came true? While the nation watched!  Beautiful.

The part I hate is that for the dreams to come true for a few, the experience must end or change for even more.  Players become Alumni.  Teams restructure and new faces join the old.  Like life I suppose.  Still painful sometimes.

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Looking in the Panthers locker room this weekend it struck me.  Seeing the favorite’s names up above their lockers was thrilling, but seeing the empty ones hit home.  That empty locker once held shoes, jerseys & all the other stuff.  It had a name that hung above it proving that someone’s dream had become a reality.  Now it waits.  Everything packed up & moved, it waits for a new name and new stuff to fill the waiting shelves.

The titles may show that one person replaces another, but it never really works like that.  There will always be the clips showing that the player that has moved on was once a part of that season with their own stories to tell.  No game is ever the same just as no player is ever the same.  Everyone brings their unique talents to the table, making it their season, their game.

Can you imagine working out there? Love it!

Can you imagine working out there? Love it!

Sure to some it is just a bunch of grown men throwing an oddly shaped brown ball around and running.  To those that connect with the game, we see the magic.  The spirits and the dreams coming true right before our eyes and we know that through it all we were there.

 If nothing else, it is simply a few hours enjoying a distraction and maybe a beer or a few while the weight of the world waits away from the action.

Either way, COUNT ME IN!  I am ready for some FOOTBALL… but not any football.

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PANTHERS FOOTBALL!

Bring it!  We always KEEP POUNDING in Carolina!

Sam Mills' spirit still inspires! (looked like the Autograph poster was still signed by the 2012-13 team)

Sam Mills’ spirit still inspires!
(looked like the Autograph poster was still signed by the 2012-13 team)

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