Our fall/winter social schedule revolved around Panthers football when I lived in uptown Charlotte, just across from the practice fields and stadium. I moved to town in time to jump on the Panthers bandwagon in 2003, as the “Cardiac Cats” played their way to the Superbowl. After years of disappointment and a lackluster start to this season, the Panthers are now on a hot streak. Last Sunday, I met friends to watch the team play the 49ers at Whiskey Warehouse, one of the newer bars in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte. I left before the team rallied to an unexpected win, but it was a lot of fun to see fans cheer with enthusiasm absent since the playoff season in 2008. And I discovered excellent sweet potato fries and a spectacular view of uptown Charlotte at Whiskey Warehouse.
Tonight Monday Night Football comes to the Queen City with a rematch of the 2003 Superbowl – Panthers vs. Patriots. Even though I grew up in Massachusetts and he’s my fantasy quarterback, I won’t be cheering for Tom Brady in this contest. I wasn’t much of a football fan growing up, but discovered the highs and lows of the game with my new friends in Charlotte. We still have many games to go before the playoffs, but Panther fans can celebrate the football spotlight finally returning to Charlotte.