Monday, September 19, 2016

Chocolate Flavored Drink Lifts Panthers to Win

Yoo-hoo for the Panthers | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Our "lucky charm" game day soft drink
helps Cam and team win games.
There will be many iterations of analysis to explain why the Panthers won yesterday against the 49ers. While we heard about the heat and humidity factor during the game, as well as who was connecting with whom and which players were having an off day, you have to know by now there is more to winning a football game than how well the players played.

When you listen to the commentators and read what the sports writers have to say, you are only getting half the story. The journalists, you see, are merely reporting on the athletes. And we all know it takes more than highly paid, muscularly fit athletes to win games. It also takes dedicated fans.

And that is why I must apologize to our beloved home team, the Carolina Panthers. To understand where I, as a fan, went wrong, I must take you back to last season.

During my youngest child's freshman year in college, he started football season with a case of Yoo-hoo drinks and a dream. That dream was to see the Carolina Panthers make it to the Super Bowl. They were on a hot winning streak and, a year ago, my son was sure they could make it all the way to the big game.

Around game three, my son called me in a panic. "I'm out of Yoo-hoo!" he exclaimed. While most college kids simply cry out for more money, my child was in desperate need of more Yoo-hoo. Why? Because he began associating the chocolate flavored soft drink with Panther wins. 

After that call, our whole family got into the Yoo-hoo spirit. When the Panthers played, we wore our team gear, put our chips and salsa in Carolina Panther blue bowls and broke out a case of chilled Yoo-hoo.
Pups in Panthers Jerseys | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Our pups don Panther gear on
game day now, as well.

For the record, we were out of Yoo-hoo during that heart-and-soul-crushing loss to the Falcons.

We did, in fact, have plenty of Yoo-hoo on hand for the Super Bowl, but I'm guessing there were other fans who fell short on that frustratingly sad evening.

But I digress. During the 2016 season opener, my youngest child was busily toiling away in class while we watched the game against Denver. We had no Yoo-hoo in the house. I wasn't even wearing my Panthers t-shirt. 

Blame it on it being a busy weeknight game, our hectic lives — it doesn't really matter. Bottom line, we were a disappointment to our team. We let them down. Say what you will about what the players might have done wrong that evening, they were clearly not fully to blame. I am deeply sorry.

Even as the final seconds drifted off the clock in Denver, I knew what had happened. Therefore, when the 49ers came to town, we were ready. We had a brand new case of Yoo-hoo just for Sunday's game. I baked cheesy ranch chicken bread balls. We even bought our dogs Panthers jerseys. And, as you witnessed, the Panthers pulled together for the win. 

While we suffered one loss at the beginning of the season, the rest of this year can still be as magical as last year. But fans, we need to keep our heads in the game. Your family's secret weapon might not be Yoo-hoo. Maybe it's a special appetizer or the particular seats in which you sit around the big screen.

Whatever your ritual, make sure you prepare for and do it, religiously, every week for our Panthers. They can't win alone. They need us. So what do you say fans? Are you with me? Are you committed to making this another magical Panthers season? 


Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the associate editor of Piedmont Parent and author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
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Copyright 2016 Michele Bare