For my birthday this year, Jaclyn made sure she got me a bunch of plain white shirts. Exciting, right? Well thankfully there was a better present to be had soon after — tickets to the Week 14 Falcons/Panthers game at BOA Stadium. She sent me a text with the tickets in it, and I expressed my excitement before I even realized there were tickets for ALL THREE OF US.
Yes, Miles was going to his first pro football game. And today, the day finally arrived.
Remembering the regular traffic situation on game days, we took backroads over to our OLD old residence in Uptown, where I still had to wedge the car — in reverse — between two rows of automobiles before I could park. I did this while Miles stomped on my arm as it rested on the back of Jaclyn’s seat. Harrowing, to be sure. Thankfully we parked unscathed and started our walk to the stadium.
On the way in, a fellow fan, recognizing that it was Miles’s first trip to a game, handed him a Panthers flag that he waved around incessantly until we got seated. The Panthers Pride was there to be sure, but somehow I got him to settle down long enough to snap a picture together on the way in.
As for the game itself, Miles was pretty attentive for about a quarter (which, I’d imagine, was also true of most of the adult Panthers fans in attendance). He clapped as the team ran out on the field, joined everyone in making as much noise as possible on the Falcons’ third down attempts, and screamed at the top of his lungs throughout the game. Jaclyn snapped at him to quiet down, to which I said, “…Jaclyn. COME ON.” We were at a football game, dammit. The kid could scream all he wanted for once.
After the first quarter, Miles had to go on a couple walks with Jaclyn to burn off some energy. Thankfully, he was back by the time Sir Purr took the field. Miles actually spotted him before I did! He shouted, “Give me my Catboy mask!” with an urgency I wish he’d apply to things like hygiene and getting out of the house in the morning.
Perhaps even more than the game itself, Miles was excited about the bounty of snacks available. He ate some Bojangles’ tenders, fries, half of my hot dog, and most of a bucket of popcorn. Oh, and he ate that last one like this:
Needless to say, by the time the game reached its merciful conclusion and the Panthers were finally rendered statistically incapable of reaching the playoffs, the witching hour was upon us and it was clearly time to leave. But first, Miles insisted on taking a picture specifically with the statue of Mike McCormack outside the stadium.
And did Miles have fun? “No,” he said, “because I wanted to go down and play football.”