When I was in elementary, people would sometimes ask me who my favorite football team was, and I’d say, “The Panthers.”
Then they’d say, “No, no, no. We mean the NFL, not high school.”
“I know,” I’d say. “I’m a fan of the Carolina Panthers.”
Then they’d laugh and make fun of me. (“They” are quite unkind, as Edward Lear well knew.)
It’s been hit and miss since then, with higher-highs and lower-lows than being a Cowboys fan. We’ve won more playoff games and lost a Super Bowl (because John Kasey can’t keep an expletive kickoff inbounds), but also lost 15 games in a row and been spectacularly pathetic. The Cowboys, by contrast, have been pathetic in an underwhelming way. But at least you have a nice stadium.
This year I don’t know what I’m going to do. There’s a rookie quarterback, Cam Newton, and good Lord, he threw for more than 400 yards his first game. They lost, but he looked good, really good.
And that’s a problem for me.
It’s just — Newton isn’t someone I can relate to, I guess is the thing. I need someone out there leading a huddle who understands my problems and what I’m going through. That’s why I loved Jake Delhomme so much, especially his last couple years in Carolina. He was a drawling Southerner, and he really sucked. Not only did he single-handedly lose a playoff game to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 season, the next year was statistically one of the worst a pro player has ever had.
I felt like, yeah, this guy gets it. He knows what it’s like to be really bad at being an NFL quarterback, just like I would be. Whereas Newton, gosh, he’s on pace to statistically be the greatest QB ever.
If I had my way, my leader on the field would know what it’s like to work for a living, to struggle to attain success. To just be a regular guy. You know, someone I could have beer with. That’s my quarterback.
Anyway, that’s about half of a column, and now I’ve run out of things to say on the topic. So I’m going to abruptly switch to something completely unrelated. Try to stay with me.
The American political system has its flaws, this is true, but you have to hand it to us on one thing: we don’t elect representatives who talk down to us. Every now and then, some egghead from New York City or Washington, D.C., will get on TV and use big words and say, “Hey! I’m extremely qualified. I actually know what I’m talking about and have experience about this issue. You should listen to me or at least shut up when you don’t have something worthwhile to contribute. I’m an elitist because I’m the best at this thing.”
Luckily someone else will always come along and say, “Now shucks, I’m not a scientist and I didn’t do too well in school, but folks,” and I love it when I get called a folk, “back where I come from, it’s just common sense to know ‘data’ is word people with pocket-protectors use when they’re asking to get beat up.” Then he or she will roll up their sleeves, drop their g’s and give me a humorous anecdote, so I know I can vote for this person. Because I can relate to them.
And once again, I apologize for writing a column about two different things.