We've all been there before. We know the remarks, we know the ridicule, and even occasionally, we know the ability to fire back. Life as a Panther fan has been a series of peaks and valleys, with long stretches of plateaus.

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We've all been there before. We know the remarks, we know the ridicule, and even occasionally, we know the ability to fire back. Life as a Panther fan has been a series of peaks and valleys, with long stretches of plateaus.

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Being a Panther Fan

"How'd the Panthers do this weekend?"<br><br> We've all been there before. We know the remarks, we know the ridicule, and even occasionally, we know the ability to fire back. Life as a Panther fan has been a series of peaks and valleys, with long stretches of plateaus.<br><br>

Living in Birmingham, Alabama puts a Panther fan into an interesting situation. Everyone's favorite team is the team that won the national game that week. So, it never fails after a Panther defeat to come in to the office to a barrage of "Hey, how about those (enter team name here)?"

The North and South Carolina fans don't have to worry parading their Panthers gear around. They are in hallowed territory, the hunting grounds for our fearsome cats. Everywhere I go, I know somebody looks at the jersey I'm wearing and thinks "bandwagon fan." That's why I'm sure to keep every piece of history I can. From my Frank Reich jersey to my Jake Delhomme jersey, I know that no matter what they think, they don't know the true meaning of the word "fan."

You see, I'm quite the outspoken fan of this team. There are several reasons why, but regardless, I am a fan of the Cats until the day I die. Because of this fact, everybody at the office is a fan of the Panthers' opponent. When the Panthers lose, I get at least ten knocks on my office door, each one accompanied with a face a suppressed glee. When the Panthers win, and I make my rounds around the office, the Buccaneer-fan-for-a-week quickly reminds me that he is originally from some other NFL city, and that he isn't really a Bucs fan. These kinds of people have no risks (much like sports analysts); they can be enamored with a team one minute, and completely reverse their decision with their own twisted logic to avoid the feeling of losing.

While the Panthers have had to pay their dues, and have done more than their fair share of losing, it take those 1-15 seasons to appreciate the NFC Championship even more. It take a 4-12 year in '98 to look back and think "Wow, '96 was excellent." These other people, they'll never feel that. Superficially, sure, they support a winner every time they win. They will never know the true feeling of victory, that true sense of accomplish of sticking with the team.

Living in Alabama, it was fairly easy to get my custom license plate to say "PANTHRS." I have put myself in the situation where I support my team, win or lose. When we lose, everybody can point and laugh all they want. When we win, and my car passes by with window flags flying proudly in the air, the QC Riders Panthers anthem blaring on the radio, and my license plate the exclamation point, I know the true meaning of the word "fan," and I'm proud to be one of the few that actually understands it.


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