By: Carrie Hamrick
Ice Up Son
This morning I opened Facebook to see a post from a friend. In this particular post, my friend wanted to separate Panthers fans into groups. Those who “liked them before they were good,” or “who already had jerseys or t-shirts before this Christmas or their most recent birthday.” He then shared an image of former Panthers Muhsin Muhammad and Steve Smith and taunted readers by stating “If you can't name these two fellas without Googling them, you can't join [our club]...If you're mad about it, Ice Up, Son.”
Yes, I recognized the two in the photo, and of course the phrase “ice up, son” echoed Smith’s 2013 challenge to rival, Aquib Talib, a Patriot at the time. But recognizing these two isn’t the mark of my fandom.
No, I have never been fortunate enough to warm a seat at Bank of America Stadium, but, my couch or local bar stools will tell a different story. I’ve seen each of those 13 wins this season and talk to my co-workers on Mondays using the player’s first names as if I actually know them.
I’ve seen Cam hand footballs to kids in the stands and encourage his teammates to do the same.
I’ve watched Olsen catch passes an inch before they hit the turf.
I’ve seen Funchess wear the initials of a fallen hero who was from my hometown.
I’ve seen Kuechly hit harder than any other linebacker, yet spend his time off making a fan’s dream come true.
I’ve seen Stewart and Tolbert push through herds of opponents, who were all out to stop the guys in black and blue.
And I’ve been so excited about the way this group of guys comes together each game that I’ve shared posts, interviews, videos, and memes on my social media pages.
Dedication of Fan and Team
You see, there’s something special about these boys. Some have stood on the sidelines wishing for these moments and some got to come on board and live in this “right now." In this moment, history is actually being written. And amidst all the doubt, broken records, and updates to the history books, the Carolina Panthers take the field each week and have a ball playing a game they love.
The fans are no different. Some have dedicated countless hours to cheer on different versions of this Panthers team. And there are those that turned on their TV at some point in this magical season and found something to believe in.
Keep Pounding Panthers Fans New & Old
But I say there’s room for everyone. Someone who cheers on our Carolina team is on the same side as me. Whether you’ve seen one game or a hundred, we’re in a band of believers that live to see the Carolina Panthers “Keep Pounding” each week. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to find a Luke Kuechly jersey under the tree this year, my first but surely not last. This is the kind of season and group of guys that raise fans for life, and I’m thrilled to say that’s a “wagon” I’ll stay on with the rest of my Panthers family.
Here’s to the Queen City, the home of a team that’s bringing people together this holiday season. And in whatever corner of the United States or world that you cheer on our Carolina Panthers, know that you’re joined by countless others near and far who want our beloved Cats to “Keep Pounding” and continue showing the world the character and class that our team and our city are made of.
- Carrie Hamrick