I’m a little late coming to the keyboard to pound out my thoughts and passions as they command my most of my waking thoughts as a testosterone-poisoned sports lunatic, but the date of December 15th, our home game against the Jets, did not pass without me thinking about someone that a good many of you were very close to, or dug hangin’ with in the early days of PantherFanz tailgating. Still, quite a few of you may have never met him – but the day of Marc “JoKer” Stanton’s departure from the mortal coils of this corporeal existence into the realms of eternity brings to me a flood of thoughts, most of them warm and positive. I feel his presence most profoundly on the few times I’m privileged enough to operate his vintage WWII hand-operated air-raid siren to fire up the tailgaters in the lot, but there are other times that Marc comes to my mind as a dedicated, zealous PantherFan.
Do yourself a favor if you've never met the man. Go to the "JoKer Tribute Page" on the website.
I apologize to you all, dear readers, but the rest of this rant is a conversation between Marc and I.
Dude, I have no clue how you’re experiencing the afterlife, and how much you’re able to keep tabs on Julie, the kids, your Microsoft associates or James, myself with the rest of the tailgaters you’ve befriended in your long history of passion for the game, its accompanying festival and in particular, the Panthers, along with this website and community that was the genesis of a really good buzz between you and Dano. It’s the firmest belief I hold that you indeed have a never-ceasing view, not only of “The Lot” you took much pride in, but everything else on a galactic level, since now your essence spans a space none of us that still slog around this planet can yet comprehend. So, bro, I suppose you know that I’ve been particularly naughty this year, and deserve a bag of switches this Wednesday –
I could go on and on and on about how things have gone in this world since you left us, but that might bore you and definitely the readers of the blog YOU created, so I just wanna tell you, in case you’ve spent the past seven years digging something on a plane of existence we couldn’t fathom, how, indeed things are going in the lot – I personally think you would be, to paraphrase my dad, who I’m counting on you hooking up with by the way, if you haven’t already – “EXCITED AS HELL” to be a physical part of PantherFanz tailgating –
You know, Marc, one of the last conversations I had with you was how some of us could take on more of the work in the party preparations, and I remember how glad you were in that SOMEONE was FINALLY going to make a serious contribution to the tailgate – Not only have Dano and James done a stellar job in keeping this thing going, but Marc, bro, there’s now about a dozen of us that do something important to keep the party goin’, game after game, season after season. And dude – you would LOVE the concoction Lauren and I came up with as our signature party drink – it’s called, of all things – Panther Potion, and it’s one part each of these liquors – Bartlett’s Orange Vodka – Captain Morgan’s SILVER Spiced Rum (why? Cause EVERYONE’s got a little Capn’ in ‘em!!!) Good Gordon’s Gin, and the cordial that gives it its blue colour, Dekuyper’s Blue Curaco. We cut it with an equal part of diet tonic water, and serve it in a gallon pitcher or a special dispenser James has on the bus, and the tailgaters get REALLY buzzed from that! Dano tells me that the game a bunch of Matt’s football teammate’s parents attended a tailgate party, much intimacy was achieved afterwards! It’s also a big tip generator at the party. And speaking of tip generators, Dano and Brain have gotten really awesome at cooking our main courses on the venerable “JoKer Smoker” so christened by us after we refurbished it. It’s still in great shape, bro; we’ve taken really good care of it! And of course, it goes without saying, even though we’ve never lost a tailgate, the party’s SOOOOO much better when we’re winning – and this year, Marc, this team is fantastic on levels we’ve never seen before – Dude, our defense is ’85 Bears good – no shit, and Ron Rivera is our coach! Our quarterback is a dude that wasn’t even in college yet when you left us – he’s a freak of athleticism on par with Julius Peppers, (who you may know isn’t on the team any more..)and can do things Jake Delhomme couldn’t even dream of doing. And DUDE –
WE ARE BACK IN THE PLAYOFFS after a five-year absence – with a chance to end the regular season in Atlanta, yeah, that town that you HATED with a fiery white hot passion, as the #2, maybe even the #1 seed, bro!!!
And Marc –
Speaking of absence, I’m unsure if you get the internet where you are, I’m guessing you’ve got ways to circumvent the regular physical properties of needing a WiFi connection and a nice Windows machine to get it on, cause there’s no way, NO HOW, they’ve got Macs where you are… but I really feel your absence when I take to the keyboard to write for the website the rant you SO EXCELLED at. I could never call it “The View from the Lot” – that was yours, and yours alone, bro. I so miss the wit, passion, and INTELLECT and KNOWLEDGE you imparted to your sometimes weekly rants, and here in the past few years, I’ve felt so inadequate to keep that part of your legacy goin’ dude, but in that Sam Mills spirit – (Oh, give Sam my best for me-huh?) I will “KEEP POUNDING” because that honors you, bro. I just really hope that you approve of it.
I get kinda maudlin this time of year, Marc, not JUST because you’re gone, but I do think A LOT of you in December, man. I just wanna let you know that the party you started is better than ever, the people who are part of it are more like family than ever, we’re extending into the national tailgating community more than ever, The Panthers you LOVED are better than ever, and Marc-
Julie and the kids are great. Everyone’s takin’ great care of ‘em. You got nothin’ to worry about there, bro, but again, I think you know that.
You’re legacy’s in great shape, Marc.
And DUDE –
If that was not you hammerin’ the stadium with the Hammer of Molinjor yesterday when Cam threw that TD to Domenik Hickson, I wanna know WHO WAS!!!
Gotta comment Bro???
Email me, The Cedar Street Seer (the name YOU game me, bro!)
And if you do, I would hope I recover from the certain flip-out….