1. Carolina Panthers
What can I say? The Carolina Panthers are pretty much out of playoff contention after losing its seventh game of the season on Sunday. The team is now 4-7 with five games to go and will face Seattle this Sunday night.
I tell you what I will say. I'm tired. Tired of this season for sure. But I'm also tired of seeing excuse after excuse rain down after a loss. There should be no excuses. It frustrates me to no end that the franchise can go from an almost perfect, 15-1 regular season and the cusp of a Super Bowl title to 4-7 and effectively eliminated from playoff contention. I know that some players retired, some were let go (ahem, Josh Norman) and some have been injured. Still, the team didn't lose that many personnel from last season's squad to be in the position it is now.
Carolina hasn't experienced back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history. That shouldn't be okay. What gets me is there are teams like New England out there that have had sustained success throughout the years. I don't like using New England as an example - mostly because I hate the Patriots just as much as I do Duke - but for the sake of argument, take a look at the franchise's history. There has been one, yes, one losing season since 2000. There have been 10 losing seasons for Carolina in that same timespan. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm sick of settling for mediocrity. Everyone said - and I truly believed - that last season was "our year" only to lose the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos. Now that the team has gone 4-7, people are saying "Well it's not our year" or "It is what it is." When will "our year" be? Will I ever see the Carolina Panthers, a franchise that I've stuck tight with since I was 11 years old, win a Super Bowl? Unfortunately, I'm not going to hold my breath.
P.S. This article from Erik Sommers at Cat Scratch Reader is spot on. Check it out!
2. "Crazy" Sign Incident
Duke played Michigan State at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday night as apart of the ACC/Big10 Challenge. Joe Ovies, a sports broadcaster at local radio station, 99.9 The Fan, was at the game and tweeted a photo of a sign made by one of the "Cameron Crazies" which is here. The sign is making light of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Mich. Michigan State freshman, Myles Bridges, is from Flint, as well. Ovies tweeted later that he pointed out the sign to security and it was removed. Both Duke and Michigan State released statements condemning it as well.
This is not the first time some of the "Cameron Crazies" have come under fire. In 2013, N.C. State came to Cameron Indoor to play Duke. It was widely reported that some of the "Crazies" chanted "How's your grandma?" to the Pack's Tyler Lewis, who had just recently lost his grandmother. As you well know, I'm an N.C. State alum. Once I learned of what happened from a friend on Facebook, I wrote a post addressing my disdain for the incident. Most people agreed but one Duke fan personally criticized me for calling attention to what happened. I'll never forget it.
Does this latest incident surprise me? Nah. And lest we forget North Carolina has had its own issues with water quality recently - ahem, coal ash. This sign was not only disgusting, it's highly misinformed. Some may say that you can't judge an entire university or sports program on one - or a handful - of knuckleheads. But the reality is that happens whether you like it or not. Duke and the "Crazies" already draw the ire of many fans across the sports world. Incidents like these aren't going to help the situation.
3. Steph To Charlotte?
Will Steph Curry leave Golden State to play for the Charlotte Hornets next season? There's been a lot of chatter in recent months about the NBA star as he'll become an unrestricted free agent in July 2017. Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer had an exclusive interview with Steph and asked him about his role with Golden State this season and free agency. Fowler said he asked Steph "point-blank" if playing for Charlotte was in the cards for him next year. Steph's response: "I don't know."
We can keep talking it up until July 2017 but I, for one, wouldn't count on it.
4. My New Site
I mentioned last week about the possibility of getting a Squarespace site. Well, I took the dive and got one! In the end, I wanted a unified website to house Reflections, my portfolio and other content. I can accomplish this with Squarespace. The transition to has been seamless and the interface is one of the easiest I've worked with. I can have the site hosted directly on Squarespace with a professional design and a custom domain that's secure. All this doesn't come free but I think the cost is well worth it.
That being said, check out reflectcw.com! There isn't much of a site yet but my plan is to debut it on January 1, 2017. In the meantime, you can sign up to receive a notification when the full site is up and running.
5. Christmas Giving 2K16
I've always loved giving to others for the holiday season. Last year, I started a new tradition where I will give to a certain cause or charity for Christmas. I've already chosen one for this year and I may choose another. This year, I'm supporting Adam Klein, who's a contestant on this season of Survivor. Much of his storyline on the show has revolved around his mom, Susie, who recently passed away after a battle with lung cancer. Through You Caring and Planet Buff - the maker of those awesome Buffs you see the Survivor contestants wear - Adam is raising money to fund research for a cure and also inspire others to live like his mom did. In a statement about the campaign on Planet Buff's site, Adam mentioned that his mom didn't live like she was sick. He says she lived her life "with such zest." Planet Buff is offering autographed Survivor Buffs from various contestants both past and present - even some of the "Sole Survivors" - with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to Stand Up to Cancer. Monetary donations withouth purchasing a Buff can be made on the You Caring page as well.
I decided to go the Planet Buff route and purchased one signed by Joe Anglim. Joe is one of my all time favorite contestants on the show and I'm stoked to get it. I'm happy to help Adam and this great cause. His mom reminds me of my grandma, who passed away in May from Stage IV stomach cancer that spread to her liver. She had just turned 89 when she learned of her diagnosis. She was so full of life, eating healthy, exercising, never smoking. In fact, she and I had just taken a trip to Florida in December to see UNC play in the Russell Athletic Bowl. It was unreal to see her deteriorate like she did. All the while, my grandma told us that she was at peace with everything. She was a much stronger person than I could ever be because I'd be freaking out if I'm fine one minute and told I have Stage IV cancer and three months to live the next.
I don't know if Adam will ever read this but I'm going to say a special prayer for you and your family tonight. Losing a loved one, someone you're close to, in any situation is painful. But to cancer seems to be even more painful. I can definitely relate.
Thanks for Reading