At 10 a.m. yesterday I noticed a few people (like five) gathering at the Panthers Training Field on Cedar Street. I was running late for a C5 interview, so I did not think about it too much. An hour later, I decided to take a walk to the training field and see what was going on.
With uptown Charlotte and Bank of America Stadium as the backdrop, 90-100 people were gathered behind a fence along the sidewalk leading into the Panthers’ practice fields. Security guards were positioned along the walkway.
Sure enough, the crowd started cheering and yelling as players started coming down the sidewalk from the direction of the stadium.
The level of excitement, pride and love for the team was contagious. As I write this story two hours later, I am still on a Panther high and can hardly contain myself.
The players came out in groups over a period of 20 minutes or so.
I was told by Rodney (he became my official adviser) that Cam Newton may disguise himself. When Cam did come in, he was covered up, but I don’t think anyone could have missed him.
Fans ranged in age, ethnicity and ability. Some people drove from far away, others took their kids out of school to see the players. A few had never been to a game, others had never missed one. Everyone was there to show their support of the team.
No one was afraid to do the dab.
What brought them out to the practice field on a Thursday?
“See my players be successful.” – Rodney Gray
“Show some support. We got their back for the game. We believe in them.” – Kathia Rivera
“I want a picture with Luke’s arm around me.” – Emma Beaty
“Get a couple of autographs, cheer on the team and wish them good luck for the NFC title game.” – Dave Hodges
“Big Panthers fan since 1993. Love the Panthers. Best team in NFL.” – David Luna
Photos and video: Vanessa Infanzon