I went to a Carolina Panther's game the other day in Charlotte. I was impressed. Never have I been to a pro football game where I did not see one fight or one drunk fan. And there were kids everywhere, and families and people were happy and the players signed autographs, and everybody was singing and smiling. Of course, I think that part of it is because it is the South and I am biased towards the South. People are just nicer in smaller cities and towns and hell, no reason to get drunk and be hateful and ruin every body's time. They gave away two trips to the Super Bowl to some military men and they also honored military folks and the National Anthem was sung by an amazing little girl from North Carolina. Yes, they are undefeated and their defense is a bunch of death machines and Cam Newton is the best quarterback that I have ever seen live and I have seen some good ones. But still.
The game was done right. And I was impressed. Restored my faith in the NFL and even America a little bit.
I stayed in a small town in NC where everyone I know has a handgun and a rifle and a shotgun. And it is totally foreign to them that guns would ever get the blame for anything, they understand that it is people , not guns. It's so far away from DC and the crooked special interest politicians that I always wonder, do those suits really know how much of America really feels and what most of America really is like? Folks who support the military, who nod at everyone who passes by, who put their hands over their hearts when they hear the National Anthem, (the announcer at the Panther's game actually told people top remove their hats and place their hand over their heart), who get along because its the right thing to do. And whether you are a Christian or not, the fact remains that the people in the small town have lives that revolve around the church and the good deeds that come from out of the church are impressive- feeding homeless, fund raisers for underprivileged kids, etc.
People are so cordial that after awhile, it becomes amusing. I walk down the steps in the hotel and I am going out the door to go to my car to get my phone charger and the guy at the front desk is like have a great day, Mr. Steel! and then I am back in the place in 2 minutes. Doesn't matter though. Going to the gym? Have a great day, Mr. Steel! Nighttime? Have a great night, Mr. Steel!
When I was checking in, I was trying to get the price down for the room and the desk lady kept asking me if I was an AARP member, I was like, "No, but I am a NRA member," and she said, "That's a great organization, but it won't help you get a better rate." And then she asked me again if I was an AARP member and I said, "I am not that old!" And she was crushed. She said,"Mr. Steel, I did not mean to imply that you were old in any way and I apologize if you took it that way."I felt so sorry for her I said, "You really can't offend me and I was just kidding around." And she plugged in the discount anyway and I got the room for a good rate.
I lived there for 10 plus years but going back was just what I needed to restore my faith in folks.
And then there was the gym. The guy at the front desk with his headphones in acting like emenim and looking at me like I was a dumbass needed a serious ass whipping but I let it go. But the funniest scene was going on at the squat rack. Two guys, I guess in their early twenty's, were squatting. Both of them talking as loud as they can so that everybody in the gym hears them and they are are texting between sets and they are spreading their lats out and I am thinking, this is gonna be real good. One says, "WE MAXING TODAY!" "We are?" the other one asks. "YEAH BUDDY!" his friend exclaims. "My knees are sore!"one of them says, so he promptly started stretching his groin. Then they started warming up. 135, 185, 225(that was hard), 275 and now, here come the knee wraps and 315 on the bar. Crash! the first guy bombs out with 315 and the weight sits on the spotter rails. Next guy? Crash! same result. It was a classic moment and I did take great pleasure in it all.
And there was a boot camp going on the aerobics room and they were yelling and screaming and then they all got together and made their little protein shakes and talked about the workout and drank their shakes and if they just would squat , deadlift and press, they wouldn't have to go through all that stuff. But then there wouldn't be any story to tell, would there ?
It was a good couple of days- A great game won by an impressive team, some funny moments at the gym and folks who just know how to act.