Does it seem like a holiday around here to you?
That’s the feeling I get as two major events are on a collision course for this weekend.
By the time you read this, both major events may have fizzled, but as of this writing, there is much anticipation for winter weather that could begin as early as Wednesday night and get more significant over the latter part of the week and into the weekend. My love/hate relationship with snow has been well documented in this space. I love the stuff so long as it doesn’t interfere with my work deadlines, but it never really seems to fall in significant amounts wherever I’ve lived during my lifetime.
The other event is the NFL’s NFC championship game coming up Sunday in Charlotte. Unless you swore off sports after the horrific Black Sox scandal of 1919 or you’ve been living under a rock for the last five months, you know the Carolina Panthers, North Carolina’s Charlotte-based professional football team is having an unexpectedly good season and they continue to defy expectations. If they win this weekend’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, they will play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
Successful sports teams, even if they are three hours away in the Queen City, boost everyone’s spirits. They make the workweek shorter as everyone looks past the workweek to the next weekend’s game. At this point in the season, the importance of every game, of course, is magnified. And for many weeks, the Carolina Panthers were undefeated and managed to win games in all manner of ways – close games, blowout games, division rivalry games, contests against other really good NFL teams. You name it, they were winning it. And the Panthers players have made the games entertaining by giving away the footballs they score touchdowns with to kids in the stands. Our colleagues at the Charlotte Observer have done a masterful job of capturing the excitement of the football team and, really, the entire Charlotte region, over the team’s success. If you want to see some of the pictures and read some of the stories, visit http://bit.ly/23f2DPd.
Both the snow and the next football game are set to make news this week and, added together, it creates a sense of fun and anticipation much like a kid waiting in line to get on the newest ride at the N.C. State Fair. Looking forward to exciting things makes light work of the chores we have to do during the rest of our hum-drum lives.
We find ourselves talking to friends, family and co-workers about the oncoming snow or who will win the big game. We get our work done more quickly (unless you’re a column-writer) because we don’t want to face traveling home in bad weather and we don’t want to miss the kickoff.
Winter can be a tough time as it is. The cold weather keeps us indoors more and the sun dips below the horizon much earlier in wintertime and we all trudge through our daily routines once the wonder of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are behind us.
This wonderful union of two exciting events gives us a chance to change our daily routines in a good way. Heck, even Krispy Kreme – North Carolina’s iconic doughnut maker – is getting in on the act, with a special Carolina Panther’s doughnut, complete with blue icing.
Of course, the realist in me admits that the snow could fizzle out and the Arizona Cardinals could have the Panthers’ number and put a quick end to an exciting season.
But the optimist in me kicks the realist’s butt and I, for one, am excited about something infinitely more fun and enjoyable than staring at my wife’s honey-do list this weekend.