My brother and I have something in common: among other things, we're both fanatics of the Carolina Panthers.
I spent a beautiful Memorial Day weekend at my bro's in Maryland. The weather was great, food was excellent, and one can never go wrong spending time with family. These liberties and more, we have, thanks to our men and women in the armed forces.
Fortunately for me, my brother has the NFL Network, and being that he lives closer to North Carolina than I do, his chances of seeing a live Panthers game far exceed mine. Thank goodness he tapes any game he can on TV.
While visiting, I got to see the game against the Chargers, Packers, the Monday night game against Tampa Bay, the Sunday night game (and bitter loss) to the New York Giants, the preseason game against the Eagles (I was at that game), and a game against the Ravens from a few years ago.
For those games that my brother is unable to watch, we'll chat online. I have the Field Pass from the Panthers' Web site, so I can listen to their games every week. What I wind up doing is patching the broadcast through the chat service to him.
We've had some great games to listen to, and then there were those few losses that made for a disappointing evening, at which we would console one another that they'd win next week.
In between Sundays, holidays, the end of regular season to the beginning of preseason, and over the years my brother and I collect Panthers memorabilia; most notably, their game worn jerseys.
I was thrilled with the first three game worn jerseys I got. My bro hooked me up with them, and I still have them to this day: wide receiver Karl Hankton, tight end Michael Gaines, and running back Eric Shelton.
I have also hooked my brother up with a few jerseys: cornerback Ken Lucas, wide receiver Anthony Bright, and quarterback David Carr.
His collection still outnumbers mine, but I've been building on mine for a long time now, and I'm slowly catching up to his numbers. I've likened this collecting of jerseys as the adult version of collecting football or baseball cards.
While I currently have 15 game worn jerseys, I also have 17 of the Panthers practice jerseys, three pairs of game worn pants, media guides, yearbooks, hats, blankets, pillows, books, and other collectibles.
I ask myself however, "When and where does it end?" I don't think it ever will. I have surmounted a rather impressive collection of game worn jerseys, and thus far I see no end in sight as to when I will no longer collect jerseys.
Names like Jeff King, Kindal Moorehead, Reggie Howard, Eugene Baker, and Rashard Anderson make up some of my game worn jersey collection, while the jerseys of Ken Lucas, Dante Rosario, Chris Gamble, Keary Colbert, and J.T. O'Sullivan are among those in my practice jersey collection.
These aren't things that I say prove me to be a Panthers fan (that's what my Panthers tattoo is for); just one who has become borderline obsessed with anything Panthers I can get.
It's very interesting however, what fans of various teams do collect. While my one brother has an awesome Panthers display of jerseys and player figurines, my other brother has a really cool Eagles shrine of race cars, key chains, and wall hangings.
I have a closet full of game worn jerseys and pants. I don't really have the room to have such a shrine as my brothers have, but when I do have the room, it will be filled with framed jerseys, helmets, and anything Panthers I have collected over the years.
What started out so small and innocent has become greater as it has infinitely captured my interest. But I do enjoy it, and while I don't let it interfere with responsibilities that take precedence, I don't mind making trades or buying something when I have a little extra money to put towards my hobby.
It's amazing what once started out as football trading cards, pictures, and stuff of the like has become jerseys, pants, helmets, and cleats. At some point I imagine I will have enough jerseys to suit up a football team.
But for now, it's one jersey at a time, when finances allow for it.
My next investment will be the grandiose of Panthers jerseys. My biggest investment will be the day I have a room for the sole purpose of displaying the fruits of my labor and years of collecting.
I am a Panthers fan, and what others may view as an obsession, is really nothing more than a hobby to me.