Friday, November 13, 2015

Acting Like a Winner

Last weekend my Carolina Panthers held on versus the Green Bay Packers to go 8-0, the best start by a long shot in the team’s two decade-plus history. Seriously, we Panthers fans don’t even know how to act at this point.

Speaking of knowing how to act when winning, I couldn’t help but fire a message to my buddy Rich at one point during the game. I can’t remember when it was exactly, but it was following some theatrics from Newton celebrating the Panthers’ success. It might have been near the end when victory was finally in sight, now that I think about it.

What I said to Rich was that while I like Newton, he’s basically incapable of “acting like he’s been there before.”

To be fair I’m mostly ambivalent about this issue of Newton’s celebrating. Some Panthers fans (and even more Panthers haters) are much more energized when complaining about Newton doing his “Super-Cam” gesture after scores or even getting excited after first downs (as he often does). Indeed, I am such a Cam fan, I tend to give him a lot of leeway in this area.

Newton’s hugely talented and even though he takes risks and is fully capable of errant throws now and then he’s such a huge positive overall. Add to that the fact that there’s almost nothing I like better in sports than when Newton delivers footballs to kids in the stands following scores. The kids love it, which is very cool. And it reminds adults what it was like to be kids, which is also cool. (There was an especially nice story related to the example pictured above from last weekend, by the way.)

Rich had a good answer for my acting-like-you’ve-been-there remark about Newton. “Why should he?” asked Rich in response. “Enjoy every second.”

That night and over the next two nights I watched the World Series of Poker Main Event play out, where eight of the nine players came up just short of the ultimate goal of winning the whole sucker. With each bustout came very sportsmanlike behavior all around, and in fact I can’t even remember any overdone celebrations whenever anyone won a big pot. (Not that anyone other than Joe McKeehen did a lot of that, actually).

Of course, none of those guys had ever “been there before” (although a few had gotten deep and/or won big tournaments previously). But they all had long ago absorbed those lessons in etiquette most poker players do regarding tempering celebrations when you win, and similarly toning down the complaining when you don’t.

Anyhow, the Panthers have obviously never been here before -- that is, undefeated through half a season. I hardly expect Carolina to replicate that feat in games 9 through 16, obviously. But I think there will be a few more celebrations, which I plan to do my best to enjoy when they come.

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