My parents and the younger of my two sisters moved from Albany, NY to Charlotte, NC in 1974. I’ve been down there several times and lived there for a brief period in 1977. I even did research on how the city annexed tons of unincorporated territory, though I never actually finished that grad school paper in 1980.
It has evolved from what my late father used to refer to as a “big country town” when he moved down there, comparable to the cartoon character Baby Huey, to something approximating a city, with a decent mass transit system.
I’m not one to believe entirely that fealty to a major league sports team is a sign of a city’s cohesion. Still, it’s had a National Basketball Association team from 1988-2001 and again from 2004 to the present.
The Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, which started about two decades ago, play in a stadium in downtown Charlotte, not in the suburbs. I’ve never been to a game, but I’ve been by the stadium, which is not far from where my late mother used to work.
One of my favorite pieces of clothing, which I still wear occasionally, is a sweatshirt my mom gave me after the Panthers won the NFC West division back in 1996 – it looks like the picture – losing in the NFC championship game. NFC West? Long story.
So my rooting interests are prosaic. I’ve been to Denver on one trip, at the airport on the way to somewhere else. Sure, like Jeb Bush, I’d like the old man, quarterback Peyton Manning, 39, to do well.