By Kathy Winfield
Dave and I lived in the Los Angeles area before moving to Charlotte in 2008. I wanted to retire early and knew that would not be possible in the Southern California area, so we went in search of a city and state that had lots of work opportunity, lower cost of living, a temperate climate and access to a coast. Being close to the beach was something that was so important to us in the search for our new home.
Our first Panthers memory was being in Uptown Charlotte for our first exploratory trip. At the time, we were deciding between Raleigh and Charlotte for our new home and were weighing our options on each city. Upon arriving, we immediately stepped into a city-wide party. From the moment we exited the hotel, we were wrapped up in the excitement of the Uptown tailgating scene that makes up football Sundays in Charlotte. Our favorite thing about gamedays in Charlotte was that it had the same electric energy and excitement as attending a rock concert.
After suffering through a massive football drought in Los Angeles for two decades, we were swept away with all the excitement. In an ironic sequence of events, the Panthers were playing the 49ers that day and ended up winning the game as well, which was a sign to us.
We have been PSL Owners since we moved here, three years ago. Before moving, we were Broadway series season ticket holders for years and one day realized that I was paying for a very expensive nap at the theater! I decided to transfer all of my entertainment budget to our PSL's. It was gut-wrenching at first to spend all of that money, but that feeling was immediately replaced by giddiness when we sat in our seats for the first time.
After being in the Charlotte area for several years, the Panthers game experience has become "our" thing. It is a special day that we share together ten times a year. We have modified our traditions as the city of Charlotte progresses, but we always enjoy taking the train into Uptown early and either going to a tailgate or getting a hot dog at the church which, is always good luck for us. Of course, I always have to wear my Luke Kuechly jersey as well.
Some couples prefer champagne at the Ritz, but we would rather don our Panthers gear and share a local craft beer and a good luck kiss before the game. We are excited for the upcoming season, making more memories, and of course hoping for another trip to the Super Bowl!