16 November, 2009


It should only be fitting to title this post, not so much a rant, but an observation.

At 9.28, I pulled onto 1-77 from Johnny Belk, and realized,

I’D FORGOTTEN MY TICKETS. First time since Jerry invaded Klimpsun. Instead of berating me, my loyal wingman, Clarence the Wildman was perfectly cool, and we continued our lively conversation through the extra 40 minutes added to our wait to party. Which wasn’t a big problem. Ironically, Dano snagged the WRONG tickets for the day, as well. As fate would have it, this game fell on Veterans Day weekend, and I know many of us have served our country faithfully, and we were pleased to see many well – dressed servicemen attending the party.

There’s something special in hosting these brave men and women, who are willing to give their all so that you and I are free to live the lives we live, free from tyranny, free from outrageous taxation, and despite the designs of a malevolent and dangerous minority, free from attack. And we can thank not the politicians who pose and preen and verbalize, but THESE individuals who get it done, on the front lines, on the supply lines, wherever their sacrifice is needed. And I am so proud to be a part of PantherFanZ’s offering of THIS sign of respect – a party for these Wounded, but Wonderful, Warriors.

I was also uplifted by the revelation by a feller who we’ll call - STEVE – Who regularly goes by the name of - STEVE, that my weekly rants and prognostications are read by more people than I figured. A very nice sign of respect from my lot buddy, who turned me on, via his son Chris, to a SERIOUS Hungarian Hooch that was the perfect elixir for the day. So, with the party joined, our regular Duckie fans also in company, we proceeded to get a happy buzz on a remarkably delightful and benign November day.
But the signs of respect were only beginning on this day – As we got to our seats, we were pleasantly serenaded by the MOST EXCELLENT Providence High School choir singing our beloved national anthem, and buzzed as I was, found myself MOVED emotionally by the fly-over of T-6 Texans, (I originally thought they were P-51’s) thinking about the patriots who flew such aircraft in the War to End Global Tyranny. And another surprise show of respect by the attendees of this game – The sound of Jake Delhomme’s introduction was curiously devoid of the “OOOO” sound, as in BOOO. I knew the difference because the sound of describing a bovine creature’s guttural emoting greeted MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOShin MOOOOOOOOOOOhammad….

A terrible event that silenced the crowd for what felt like an hour also elicited a strong show of respect from Panther and Falcon alike. When our arguably MOST VALUABLE Big Nasty, Jordan Gross, broke his ankle in the first half, a gathering of black AND white clad participants gave their concerning respect. As did I, for the first time in years, in referring to THAT team from Atlanta by their REAL name in this paragraph. Don’t worry – it won’t happen again for quite a while. And deserving of all of our respect, despite the high maintenance diva act of the past month? Our own Steve Smith, who took a savage shot to the ribs that put him down for a while, found the inner strength to come back and contribute to this all – important win.

With FOUR touchdowns scored, the opportunity to do my now "infamous" C*A*T*S cheer presented itself, with not a single mention from stadium staff. In fact, our lovely neighbors sitting next to us were COUNTING on me to do the 'ol routine - And for one of the BEST signs of respect from the day? None other than John Ross, the youngster who had me tossed in the preseason, acknowleging my work with an approving wave, knowing MY section was well under control, and the fans happy and cheering, yet well behaved.

While the game played was far from perfect, our team returned to respectability with the victory. But the problems remain. The Duckies gashed us for WAY too many yards on the ground, and we had virtually no pass rush. We are going to be missing the speed and power of Tommy Davis, and now, we are going to be missing the stellar blocking and occasional false start (!) of Jordan Gross. But the rest of the league is struggling with hurting bodies now. We cannot feel badly for ourselves. There’s seven more games to play, with a chance, yes, a chance, for a respectable season. All of a sudden, the Dullphins and Jets don’t look so formidable. Nor do the Gint’s, or even the Pastry-Rots or Vikings.

And the good feeling followed us to the lot for a long, enjoyable post-game celebration. I’m hoping that our last four parties are going be riding shotgun to respect-building victories like this one –

Starting this Thursday….

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