Seen from the cheap seats

Steeler fans wish their city was this prettyObjects in the lens are closer to the field than I was

Robservations from a Sunday at Ericsson Stadium. (And yes, I also still call it Charlotte Motor Speedway, too. Sue me!)

Beware the sports fashion police
Actual conversation between my buddy Quarters and I during our two-hour jaunt to Charlotte:

ME: I wasn’t sure what to wear to the game. I thought about pulling out my old Kerry Collins Panthers jersey, but decided against it. I asked myself, “what would mjd think”, and left it at that.

QUARTERS: (speaking as mjd) Some guy just walked in the bar wearing a Kerry Collins jersey. It’s not a Raiders or even a Giants jersey, but a Panthers jersey. What a douche. He’s the scum the scum of the Earth scraps of their scrum-ridden boots. I hope he dies.

And the web shall lead you
Prior to our trip, Quarters and I scouted online pregame locales to get our drink on. A friend recommended a list of such locations. Quarters did some intensive investigative work and uncovered a place called Cans, which simply put has one of the greatest websites ever envisioned for a bar. Go ahead, check it out. Other watering holes had lower prices, but this place seemed too sweet to pass up. Its photo gallery only has one photo, but wow … it’s enough.

Sunday drinking has a deadline
It’s been years since I had a reason to purchase, pound or even ponder alcohol on a Sunday morn. I forgot the rules. I was reminded of them as soon as we took a step into Cans. No brew until noon. We had 10 minutes. A glass of water never lasted so long. The bartender took our order two minutes to lift off and had them in our hands at 12:00.01 on the dot. Light doesn’t travel that fast. Brews in hand, we had roughly 45 minutes to sip and satisfy before hiking to the game. Thus, a race ensued. I am pleased (horrified?) to say I actually out-gulped Quarters, who is famous for his at-rest double-digit blood alcohol level .. when sober.

Up where we belong
Next time I’m bringing a telescope

Next time hire a sherpa
My tickets were free, so I shant complain. But man, what a hike. We were in section 545, a trek best undertaken with an oxygen tank and mule. We busied ourselves movin’ on up like the Jeffersons to seats worthy of the Evans. In the sports world, the penthouse is the outhouse. (Unless by penthouse you mean something like this, and we ain’t got that kinda money). Our seats were just three rows from a five-story Eagles-like plunge to pavement. Any higher and we’d have been Cypruss Hill.

That said, the view of the field was indeed excellent. There really isn’t a bad seat in the place, unless a chill wind is blowing. Which is was. But still …

Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer
I was there as a Panther fan, but I was really hoping to see some Dexter Coakley action. Coakley, for those unaware, was a two-time National Defensive Player of the Year winner from App State who was drafted by Dallas and rarely missed a start. Once Tuna came a’smellin he was let loose to St. Louis. His first season there was interrupted by a broken leg. He’s back this year, but was kept on the sideline most – if not all – of the game. Like Tiffany, I saw him standing there, but that was about it. The only Coakley action I spied was him switching from helmet-on to helmet-off like a confused Boushh action figure.

As for this guy, thankfully his name rhymes well with my distaste. When the crowd mooed “Hoooooooover” I yelled with much stealth “Boooooooo,” followed by “Go App State!” I’m very selective when it comes to kitties.

The genius hidden among the masses
Somehow, someway the NFL has ignored or simply overlooked the two tactical genuis sitting behind me, further from the action than AC Green. In either case, they were exiled to subjecting people like, um, ME, to their stream of Joe-Buck-like-un consciousness. There was nary a play they agreed with, nor any lowlight they just knew was coming, cause Fox always goes conservative on the offense (unless he tries Me-shawn as a QB, which everyone in the stadium knew was a dumb idea even before the INT, but these two Patton-like stragetists made sure everyone within two sighs heard their opinion of how dumb it was, cause it wasn’t dumb until they said it was dumb).

At least at home I have a mute button. As yes, it’s marked graphically with Chris Berman’s face.

He Hate Me
Remember 2000, punk? Or how about ’98?

Misery thy name is Wake
At one point during the game I decided to blindly snap a photo over my shoulder. It was an effort to capture our altitude. Instead I recorded a rather pissed Wake Forest fan. He was upset either because, A – some idiot was blindly waving a camera in his face, or B – said idiot kept referring loudly to App State, which the so-called ACC “power” Deacons are too scared to play in football. I vote option B. Wusses.

Quick aside – as you can see in the photo, freakin’ everyone wears Panther jerseys to the game. Except the guy right beside us. He had on a Panthers jersey t-shirt, cause nothing says broke like cotton.

Water, water everywhere, but geez – $6 for beer?
Sticker shock it was not. I knew we’d be gouged like a Yankee in a Southern junk antique store. But even the New Jersey turnpike is kinder to the fuel-deprived. I went to one concession stand for two drafts and nachos and left $17 lighter. I would have been outraged if not numbed long ago to such outright robbery by the local movie theater. By the way, this is also the reason for the pregame qualifying run at Cans. That and the waitresses, but I digress …

They neglected the song that makes the … whole .. world .. sing
My only disappointment of the day was the lack of sweet fight song goodness. I was hyped to finally hear live and full of jive the new Panther charge. Yet all three Carolina scores – two field goals, TD and safety – were met not with “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina …,” but with “They give me cat .. scratch .. fever!” They did play it at the end of the game, of course, but by then people were looking to leave, not heave prance and cheer. Nothing against Ted, or course, but I was really hankering for some NFL approved, rowr-rowwwr-rowr! cheesiness.

I mean, what good is an NFL game if not for completely dorking out.

Can’t … breathe … need .. oxygen …We really could have used another beer

And please, let the record show the Panthers are 3-0 when I’m in the stands. I expect to see that in the game notes for Sunday.


2 thoughts on “Seen from the cheap seats

  1. hahaa- great post! I’m glad to see you carry your appalachian pride all the way to an NFL game. The Panthers seats I always get for free are about 10 rows from the very top- it is quite a hike, but totally worth it. (And I find that the walk back down is good for sobering up!) Oh, and I wear my jersey EVERY Sunday!

  2. Pingback: sports news » Blogdome: If The BCS Ran Everything

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