Monday, November 14, 2011

Incredible Panther's Sideline Experience




I know most of my blogging will be about real estate but after what I experienced yesterday at the Carolina Panthers vs Tennessee Titans game, I have to make an exception.
Allen Tate Realtors is a sponsor for the Carolina Panthers. With the corporate office in Charlotte, Allen Tate has the ability to assist the Panthers staff and all the players with their real estate needs ….. it’s a great partnership. As some of you know Jerri and I are original PSL owners at Bank of America Stadium and the Carolina Panthers.  Last week we received an email from the Allen Tate marketing department asking us if we would like to accept the Panther’s offer to let someone from Allen Tate go on to the field during pre-game warm-ups. It turns out that this invitation extended to us getting to stand on the field next to the cheerleaders during player introductions. As a hard core Panthers fan, I can’t tell you how “pumped” we were to be able to experience this.
We took Jerri’s nephew and his dad to be with us on the sideline but Jerri gave up her spot to go on the field to her nephew. So it was me and Dillon standing on the 50 yard line waiting for our time to run out on the field and stand with the Panther players while the starters were introduced. It was a Veteran’s Day celebration so the Panthers started the pre-game ceremonies by honoring a veteran that lost both legs in Afghanistan. He boldly walked out on the field on two prosthetic legs with the biggest smile on his face. That smile quickly turned to tears once he heard the thunderous ovation from the crowd acknowledging this man’s sacrifice.
The next introduction was the wife of an Afghanistan veteran and her four children. The Panthers played a message from her husband on the large video boards at both ends of the stadium. Her face was glued to the big screen while her husband spoke of how much he missed her and his children.
The Panther’s announcer told the crowd they had another special guest they wanted to introduce and out of the visitor’s tunnel the veteran who we just gave such a stirring message to his wife on the big video boards came running on the field to be re-united with his wife and children. I looked back at Jerri and she’s sobbing from what we were seeing and I’m having to wipe my own eyes just so I don’t trip over all the TV cords laying at my feet.
While all this is going on two of the Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders move right in front of me holding a little girl we would later find out was 6 years old with cancer. The Carolina Panthers and the Make a Wish Foundation were granting her a wish to be a Top Cat Cheerleader for this game. Standing less than 10 feet from this little girl I could clearly see the effects of Chemotherapy treatments.
As a cancer survivor, I’ve gone through some of what this little girl has gone through and it’s not fun. She deserved to be on that field having her wish come true and at that moment if someone had told me I could trade places with this little girl and she, instead of me, could run on that field cancer free, I would have done it in a minute. Anyone having to deal with cancer is tragic but seeing someone so young having to fight this dreadful disease tugs at your heart like nothing else can. The “On Field Experience” with the Panthers was incredible but in a much different way than I expected. 
Thanks to Allen Tate for thinking of us when the Panthers called and a special thanks to Jerry Richardson and The Carolina Panthers for all the things they do for people in our part of the world.

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