This 2018 Carolina Panthers season, despite going 7-9, was one of the best ever! Wait, what?! How? Is what you may ask. Well, it’s not always about wins and losses boys and girls. The family, friendship, experiences, and oh so many gluten free options may just mean more to me than what’s in the win and loss column.
Don’t get me wrong, losing sucks. I hate to see our head coach “Riverboat” Ron Rivera on the hot seat or asked silly questions during interviews. I love seeing “QB1” Cam excited about winning games and celebrating victory Monday on Instagram. But it wasn’t our season this year. We will get a great draft pick this year and try again next season!
So what’s the deal?!
For me, NFL football is about the memories. My dad was an original Panthers season ticket holder back in 1996. I didn’t appreciate it as much when I was younger, but we went to every game until 2006. I think we missed 5 games in those 10 years.
2006 rolled around, I went active duty and my dad sold his seats since he left the area as well. That was a sad day, but the best call. I cherished our time together in Bank of America stadium. After my dad passed away a few years ago I realized just how priceless all that time was. I was still a diehard fan, but not being a season ticket holder left a void.
My lightbulb moment
Fast forward to Christmas 2017. I just got back from deployment. My Christmas gift to my sisters family was tickets to the Christmas Eve Panthers versus Buccaneers game. I had been to three other games in previous years with my daughter and shared amazing memories, but wanted to not only bring my daughter, but my sisters family as well. So I picked up the 7 tickets we needed, and we watched the Panthers whoop it on! What an amazing day!
While we were tailgating with my old tailgating crew, the lightbulb went off! I needed this more, we needed this more! Time together as a family. My sister, brother-in-law and I. All the kids running around. Father daughter time. Uncle Lenny time. Tailgating crew family time. All my favorite people in one place building memories. I needed to be a season ticket holder like my dad.
After the game I went home and looked at prices. I sat on it for a few weeks. Made sure my finances were in the right place. I pulled the trigger! I am the proud owner of two seats. Section 508, Row 19, seats 1 and 2. They will be in my family FOREVER now! You’ll have to pry them out of my cold dead hands!
Losing season… how was it the best?
Yes I know, the Panthers lost a ton of games… but my family won! All season long we won. Despite being stationed in Virginia, I made 6 of 8 games. Here are what I consider my family wins this year:
I had awesome one on one time with my nephew at one game. I don’t get that enough! He’s such a die hard fan. His passion for the game is palpable.
I took my beautiful daughter to two games. One by ourselves watching Graham Gano kick a historic game winning field goal! The other game with her was with my love Aimee and her two amazing children.
That brings me to our next victory: For the Seattle Seahawks game, we picked up three more tickets in our section and Aimee and I took all three of our kids. As we blend our family together and raise these incredible children, getting time with all of us together is at a premium. That game and day was probably the best day of the year for me.
Aimee and I were able to go to two games together. I love spending time with her and so happy, despite her being a Buffalo Bills fan, she has embraced the Carolina Panthers.
Another family win of the year was my game with Aimee’s incredible son. As we get closer to our wedding date in April, it was such a great opportunity to get some one on one time with him. He’s such an amazing young man, I can’t wait to be apart of his life and watch him as he learns and grow.
My final win of the season, is the time my brother-in-law Vince got to spend with his son. They watched the preseason games and saw two regular season games as well. As long as he wants them, he will forever get my Panthers versus Buccaneers tickets so he can take my nephew and they can share that each year.
So yea… win and loss column for the Panthers didn’t look good, but my family went undefeated this year.
So let’s talk gluten free options in Bank of America Stadium!!!
Now here is what you really came here for. What is the gluten free situation at Bank of America stadium?
I will keep it simple and cover three gluten free pro-tips in the stadium:
First is Bold Rock Hard Cider on tap and more can options. Well Lenny, that’s not impressive… think again. Bold Rock is a local NC brewed cider so I think it’s awesome they are featured there. To find the other ciders you simply need to go to one of the “craft beer” labelled vendors and they have all kinds of other options. But I love Bold Rock and love that they are in NC even more. Just be aware… its the NFL, the big dance…you’re gonna pay big prices too.
Second one is for the kids… Bank of America stadium has a bottomless bucket of popcorn. Yes…bottomless. The kids love it. Aimee and I like it too. The kids finish their popcorn?… lets go get some more! Three refills is the most we ever got, but the kids loved it. I can’t remember the price, so I’ll update this next season, but I don’t remember it being too outrageous either.
The third gluten free option is a hidden gem, and I’m almost not willing to give it up. They serve a NC BBQ nacho plate. Great nachos, large serving of BBQ, pico de Gallo, sour cream, and all covered in a magical white cheddar cheese sauce. Aimee and I crush these BBQ nachos. My old iPhone SE picture below doesn’t do it justice…
So you are headed to Bank of America stadium to watch the Carolina Panthers? Well these are my three favorite gluten free options. Come find me in section 508. I’ll definitely share some popcorn, we can chat about how we hate gluten, and if there are any BBQ nachos left…I’ll let you smell them, because I’m not giving those away! Come on now!
If you have any favorite gluten free NFL ideas or experiences, I’d love to hear them! Send me an email at Lenny@glutenfreedad.org or DM me on instagram!
And as always… KEEP POUNDING!
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