03 October, 2010


This is a true factual story, culled from the pages of Time-Life’s EXCELLENT series of books chronicling
World War II.

A group of young grade-school age boys in Hiroshima, Japan on the morning of August 6th, 1945 were playing their favorite game of “dive for the bell” at the edge of a pond before their classes were to begin on that day. The weather was warm, clear, and beautiful. Upon his turn to fetch the bell, one of the boys took his plunge into the water to retrieve the bell.

The time was 8.15AM.

The bell was actually an important heirloom from one of his dearest relatives, who would be most upset at this use of such a family valuable. He couldn’t find it. He held his breath, and desperately flashed his fingers through the silty bottom until he felt it’s familiar form in his trembling hands. He shot up to the surface, and sucked in a precious breath, and came back to a completely different world. The B-29 ENOLA GAY had dropped its lethal payload over the city, covering it with an apocalyptic fire never seen by man’s eyes before. The friends he left were smoking cinders by the banks of the pond, the school and surrounding buildings flattened like card houses. And the ghastly procession of burned, mortally wounded countrymen , women, and children, was soon to begin. The boy survived the hell of the day, to tell the story years later, to those entrusted to the memory of the Day of the “Pika-DON”.

And why I would think of this story today, after sifting through the debris of today’s game, another loss in a surprisingly listless season, is this.

While the NFL yearly campaign is SO not the intense conflagration of war, particularly one fought with nuclear weapons, and unfortunately, so many writers who cover this game use warfare as a metaphor for the truculent sport we adore, I thought of our Panthers of as late as last year, when an unknown and untried benchwarmer named Matt Moore was given the keys to the offense, and lo and behold –
Mini-Soda Favres – DEFEATED.
SuperBowl Saints – DEFEATED.

Had any random but passionate fan not following the team as closely as some of us had done in the offseason suddenly tuned into this team, they would be shocked at what remains of the Panthers after the Richardson Purge of 2010, as the little Japanese boy was when he saw what he knew completely blown away by the forces of unbridled vengeance of the American juggernaut.

A running team that can’t run.

An attacking defense that can’t make plays. That can’t pressure the opposing quarterback.

Special teams that can’t cover in the return game, that can’t create consistent touchbacks.

Receivers that cannot catch the ball.

An offensive line that can’t open holes or protect the quarterback.

And, a coaching staff and front office that has, all of a sudden, made unfathomably BAD personnel moves.

And other than the special teams, so many facets of the Panther’s game resemble nothing like the team we’ve been so excited to support. Some of the names are the same, but gone are many of the playmakers we’ve been accustomed to cheering for. If you’re like me, you’re glad that Peppers is gone, you’re glad that DelHomme is gone, and you’re glad you’ve got Jimmy Claussen on your team, but the Golden Domer isn’t ready for this game yet, and the roster full of rookies and sophomore draft choices have done nothing to make me think that they are capable replacements for the high-performing veterans that were shown the door. Hoov? One of the best, and underrated fullbacks in the game. Moose? One of the best blocking receivers in modern NFL history. Harris? A chaos-creating safety that is a hallmark of an aggressive defense.

Four games into this season, and there is virtually nothing on this team this side of Mike Goodson that gets me excited. I remember when I first took the keyboard in succession to Marc’s regular rants about the team – I spouted visceral criticisms, heartfelt desire for change, because I cared, and cared deeply.
This collapse into the depths of the league where the Lions, Browns and Raiders normally abide has been swift, and unexpected. I find myself, like many others who follow this team religiously –


A deadly state for a fan base. I remember when Jerry Richardson finished the George Seifert era back at the end of a tortuous 2001 season. He described the “energy being sucked out of the stadium”. What in the hell do you think awaits him when he attends the next 6 home games? The state of this team could be worse than that of Chris Weinke’s team.

Here’s what’s coming down the pike –

This Sunday coming up – A stadium half-filled with Bears fans.
October 24 – A stadium half empty, because the Niners may suck as bad as we do, maybe worse.
November 7th- A stadium full of front-runner Saints fans.
November 21st – A stadium full of Ravens fans.
December 12th – A stadium full of Duckies fans.
And to close the “LitterBox” for the season – the sucky Cardy-noles. Attendance could wind up being worse than the 30 thousand Pastry-Rot fans cheering for their boy Brady and the smattering of miserable PantherFanz there, just because.

And that’s not counting the roadkill against the Lambs, the Suckaneers, and yes, THE BROWNS, the Seahawks, the Duckies and the Squeelers.


It’s not what I expected of the season. But dear blog reader, I have resolutely decided –

I will be in the lot. I will be in my seat for every remaining game, save the 9er’s game, as Lauren and I will be on a plane to JerryTown. I will continue to support the team and fellowship with the fans as much as possible. I remember writing a rant about the team I loved, and the team I married. We’re married to these Panthers, especially those of you with PSL’s. For Better or for worse, we’ve got this football team, that’s been gutted by it’s owner in preparation for the decennial labor unrest. Perhaps Uncle Jerry sees something coming we don’t, and he’s’ protecting himself and his investment in this league. Yes, I will be there, I will tie myself to the mast and hang on during this maelstrom of a season, until we’ve come to calmer waters. With, undoubtedly, a new coach, a new staff, and a new front office.

I’ve spent the beginning of the season struggling with the family computer, and having finally cleared enough disk space for this thing to be reasonably running again, I hope to return to contributing weekly to the website again. I do have to share the machine with Jessie, who is in her junior year at East Meck’s IB program, the toughest in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, as she works on project after project. I hope to be able to write realistic but positive assessments of this team as we go through a season we haven’t seen the likes of –perhaps never.
But we all need to hold onto the bell we dove in for. Hiroshima’s a rebuilt city, with very little left to suggest it was leveled. In the seasons to come, the Panthers will be rebuilt, into a team we will all be excited to cheer for again, a team we will get fired up about at each other’s house parties, a team we will get into the Cedar Street lot early for. I believe it.

I will “Claw On”. Just because I have to, no –


See you at the lot, friends. It’s good to be back.

Gotta comment?
E-mail me, The Cedar Street Seer

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