Welcome to Section 110 "SuperFan" recruitment area!
A few weeks ago I asked where the love was for our beloved Bobcats. I've been to scattered Bobcats home games throughout the past few years, I've always noticed that if the teams that were visiting were what would be referred to as "Premier" teams, the bulk of Time Warner Cable Arena would be rocking...for the visiting team. This was always heartbreaking for me, as I grew up in the era of the Charlotte Hornets. I was used to EVERYONE loving the team, regardless of who was in town. I was also used to constant sellouts and struggling to get tickets for ANY games. Win or lose the support was undying. I had truly thought that for the past few years, that perhaps the love had completely escaped the city.
Through some Internet surfing, I started finding that there were fans that were as passionate about these Bobcats as they were about the Hornets of old. I joined a blog site known as Rufus on Fire and my journey began. Through a year of Rufus on Fire, I met an interesting group of fans, and from that group, 5 of us grew a bond that eventually spurned Trade Street Post. Now as the formation of Trade Street Post began, so did my attendance to a few more games. I started to notice a colorful crew of guys at the games. One game might have been a Darth Vader-esque mask, sporting some Bobcats colors, or a certain "CatMan". There was a supporting cast to boot that would have appeared to be painted up as well. My initial thought was...well...wow...
Guys that were not afraid to say WE ARE BOBCATS FANS. It was a dream come true for me. Problem was that the passion for the team was with me and with these guys, and with a pair that I believe were known as Super Bob and Thunder Cat, but it is obvious that in a building as big as the "Cable Box"...that love is spread pretty thin. I've not noticed Super Bob or Thunder Cat in the arena as of as of late, but then again, I never knew their secret identities, so perhaps I've been right in front of them, and never knew it...but I digress.
So there I was...a year into Trade Street Post and I'm wondering where the Bobcats love is, and Lo and behold, Tyler Mann invites Trade Street Post to hand with the SuperFans. Tyler can be found on Facebook and he is the Chairman of the Bobcats SuperFans. Tyler, like myself, has the fondest memories of Charlotte being an NBA town and remembers the heyday of the Hornets. His passion is the same as mine. He wants to see the popularity of the Bobcats to be as HUGE as the Hornets used to be. Last night was my first glimpse to participate with the SuperFans. I had a 100.8 fever yesterday morning, a sore throat, a swollen lymph node, and nothing to eat. The fever broke around 10:30, so I took my antibiotic, started drinking fluids, and popping ibuprofen like Tic-Tacs. There was no way I could miss this opportunity to see the SuperFans in action against one of the most hated teams in the NBA. This season the SuperFans have an area between section 109 and 110 where they do face painting, hair painting, and you can make your very own posters to show your support and love for our fighting felines. I arrived late, unfortunately, so I didn't get to introduce myself properly, in a less crazy atmosphere, but it was all good. I was able to snap a few pictures, and just observe these guys (and gal) with the Bobcats fans. My experience began as I approached the table to see Ravi Eddins and Chris Spencer working the crowd for the night's game, and trying to get the Bobcats fans to come get their faces painted and make those signs to show their support. I smiled as I saw a "For Bobcats Fans Only" sign. Many saw the sign and had puzzled looks while others smiled and came on over. Miami Heat fans would roll their eyes or just ignore the area...if they could. Many times a chant of "Beat the Heat" would ensue as they would walk buy. It was truly fun to watch these fans in action. This is something that I believe is new for the SuperFans, and is something that the franchise desperately needs. There needs to be more fans that are willing to actually be active fans. There were many faces panted, and many more posters made, but it just didn't seem to me like there were a lot of fans stopping by to participate. I did however see several fans that were die hard, just like the rest of us, so it was a heartwarming feeling.
As the pre-game festivities came to an end, we took our place in section 104. We were in the Vemma area..."Standing Room Only"
I have to say, at this point, I was so hyped up for the game, no pains, no needs...nothing was even crossing my mind. We were all planted firmly in that arena, behind the bench, ready to cheer. These guys, they were loud. I really believe that the referees & the players (ours and theirs) could easily hear every cheer, every jeer, and it was probably all that they could do to not react. There were Heat fans in front of us for the night, and they were all great sports during the entire affair. I would suppose that they had to be because they saw every bad call that the refs did, and did not make the entire night. They also saw a Bobcats team that everyone has written off for the season, absolutely explode on the Heat in the first quarter and second quarter. It actually took until the 4th quarter for the game to become...well...a game. It was an all out battle to the end, and through all of the battles on the court and shouts from the SuperFans, It all came down to 1 basket and less than 12 seconds to decide the outcome of the game. Sadly, we couldn't trade that last punch, and D-Wade's final shot all but sealed the deal with 2.6 seconds left on the clock. All we could muster off of the in-bounds pass was a rushed shot from DJ who was beyond the 3 point line. A 2-point shot would have won it, but in-bounding from basically half court, the safest pass is at the top of the 3 point circle. The Bobcats had nothing to be ashamed of in that loss. They played without Tyrus Thomas, and with the referees completely erasing Corey Maggette. The SuperFans are just what the Bobcats organization needs to help grow the fan base. I'd love to see the organization to give these guys even more love, support, coverage, seats. There are so many "SuperFans" out there that can't always make it to the games. Group these fans together and they are a powerful force. Do I think they made a difference at the Heat game? Let's just say that I believe the arena was at a turning point. The fans screaming for the Bobcats were just as loud as the ones screaming for the Heat. Does that mean we are at a 50/50 split? Perhaps so, but compared to my previous experiences, I'll take it any day of the week. I also Chris Bosh was sitting in the locker room, weeping at the harsh words spouted at his fragile ego's expense. (I kid, I kid). It's about time the "Cable Box" is holding at least a half full house rooting for our fighting felines. Words can't describe what I'm feeling for the franchise and for the SuperFans. Towards the end of the 4th, a gentleman came up to me and said in a bit of smug manner as he pointed to Tyler and the crew, "What's with these guys? Are they big fans or something?" I might have over-reacted to him exactly the same way I would have if someone was talking about my family. I said, "Actually, these are the Bobcats SuperFans. They have an undying love for the team and the franchise. They were outside in the lobby before the game at section 110, painting faces and helping Bobcats fans make posters to share that love for our Bobcats. They do that pretty much every game. The team supports them because they support the team. I think it's great to have this kind of support and more fans should do the same." Now, I had to have come off a bit LOUD, because after I was done, he snuggled up to his lady, and backed away...but...I had to lay it out as loud and proud as I could. I'm proud of what these guys are doing and what they represent, and I want to see an arena full of supporters just like them in the near future. You've seen the NBA slogan, "Big Things are Coming", right? Well, big things are happening in Charlotte.
DJ Augustin, Kemba Walker, Cory Higgins, Gerald Henderson, Matt Carroll, Reggie Williams, Corey Maggette, Derrick Brown, DJ White, Tyrus Thomas, Boris Diaw, Eddie Najera, Byron Mullens, Gana Diop, Bismack Biyombo...you are a part of it, and so are we.
We got your back The SuperFans are behind their beloved Bobcats. Guys, I hope you can feel it because NBA World, BIG things are coming from Charlotte this season and in seasons to come!
A huge thanks to the SuperFans (Chris Spencer, Ravi Eddins, Arista Clifton, Stephen Demera,Greg Good (Catman), & Will Green) for taking me into your family, and treating me as your own. Maybe next time I can hang with you guys when I'm at 100%, and you can see the REAL me at a game, instead of the strong, silent, sickly, type you saw last night. I got a good bit of volume myself, but I couldn't use it. We do it again...I'll have my own SuperFan persona. That much I promise you!
Tomorrow (as long as we get unbiased officiating...Emperor Stern, you may want to check on that) let's take our revenge on the Magic and set our record to 2 – 1.
Then, we go to Miami, and finished what got started in Charlotte.
SuperFans, you with me?
Let's do this!