Historically, I've had zero investment in watching the Super Bowl. I was one of the people who paid more attentions to commercials, and used it as an excuse to eat tons of junk food. Even when the Panthers played in the Super Bowl in 2004, I was more concerned about completing my AP homework while our youth group "watched" it together.
I was so, so excited this year! I watched most of the games. I attended the Panthers send-off rally. We all wore Panthers shirts. We had Panthers Day at church. My Facebook newsfeed was overflowing with Panthers memes, status updates, and links. I am aware that I became a bandwagon fan, but the excitement was so enormous! How could you not root for your home team in the Super Bowl?!
I dipped pretzels and oreos in blue candy melts.
We tried to teach the kids how to dab and give the touchdown signal.
Jesse and I argued over the better chip dip. (I'm on Team French Onion.)
We put our signs on the door, wore our shirts, and took one of the best family photos to date.
And then we watched every single anxiety-inducing minute of the game. It was awful. Jesse and I were both in bad moods as it became clearer that the Panthers were not going to recover. Even the next morning, we were still sulking.
The whole thing is ridiculous. I have never in my life had an emotional reaction to a sports game. In fact, I've mocked people who care so much over a silly game. Yet, it wasn't a silly game. It was an entire city, region, and fan base across the country who were rallying together in support of something. It brought people together and gave them something to talk about. For the past few weeks in Charlotte, you could not turn on the news, go through a check-out line, look at the newspaper, attend a meeting, walk in a classroom, or listen to the radio without hearing/seeing "Carolina Panthers". The team has truly bonded the community.
While I still don't understand every single rule of the game, I take so much pride in my city and team. I guess I'll be paying even more attention to our beloved Panthers next fall.
As an aside, Jackson's teacher is a brazen Broncos fan. As promised, she threw quite a celebratory party today with food and decor. This was the note she sent home:
I guess it's not just a silly game for her either!