It's no consolation, but all my New York friends are just as bummed about the Giants as I am about the Panthers. It certainly felt like the entire city of Charlotte was hung over Sunday.
The best part of Saturday's game happened at Bank of America Stadium half an hour before kickoff. (This picture from Jeff Siner at the Charlotte Observer) Jerry Richardson stepped onto the field and greeted players and coaches. Slade and I watched him just envelope Steve Smith in a bear hug. He greeted Coach Fox and Jake Delhomme, talking to and hugging his guys. We could see him joking around with the Arizona players before he left the field. I've never met Mr. Richardson, but you can't help but get emotional about his story. All of Charlotte and the Carolinas is pulling for him.
Maybe the best thing to do is to stop thinking about the playoff game that might have been (the eagles! here!) and turn some attention to other great Charlotte events coming up.
Next up for us is Fight Night, January 22nd. This is a great, high end event that benefits children's charities throughout Mecklenburg County. Al & I will be there – we're even auctioning a table off on our website.
Charlotte Restaurant Week starts up on the 24th. This is the second Queens Feast where high end restaurants set up a great menu for $30 per person. A bunch of the chefs are featured in my book, so I'm going to have some fun with them. We're going to tape a few cooking segments this week – they'll be posted on the WBT website during CRW. Hopefully, the chefs won't ask me to cook with them.
Also on the 24th, The Charlotte Checkers have their annual Family Fun Day for JDRF. We love bringing the kids to this. The players and everyone involved is so great to the families. Benny's not really around other children with diabetes very much so I love being able to show him how many other kids check their blood sugar and wear pumps. It's pretty cool.
Finally, we'll end the month with one of the best award dinners you'll ever go to. WBT's Hometown Hero Banquet. Each week throughout the year we give an award to someone who makes a difference in our community. Doesn't have to be someone who's saved a life (although it often is). Can be what Al likes to call, "that secret favor-doer." When you get all these folks in a room together, it's an amazing feeling.
Okay, so maybe all that doesn't really add up to a Super Bowl game for the Panthers. But better to get out and try to do some good than to dwell on Saturday night. Boy, that was really a crummy game, though. Only six months 'till training camp!