The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'm sorry, dear blog readers, for my neglect these past weeks. Actually, it hasn't been that long, really. I've been busy. I promise, you have not been a summer fling. I'm actually finishing up a week long research trip to the national archives. Pretty cool, huh? But . . . among the many things I forgot to bring is my converter card for my phone. Because yes, my phone takes better pictures than my digital camera, so you won't get any pictures until I get home.

While I was home (for like 3 minutes), my family and I did a lot of running around. One of the great standing traditions of August is a trip to Spartanburg South Carolina for the Carolina Panthers' training camp at Wofford College.

My mom and I have been going forever. My summers for almost as long as I remember have been marked by these practices and the trips they entail. The first one we went to John Kasey picked up my little sister and let me mom take pictures of her on the field. A few years later I stood next to Todd Saurbraun (pre-steroid bust) in the cafeteria. Then Muhsin Muhammed came whipping around the corner in the parking lot in his tiny sports care, almost to be squished by my Mom's minivan. We're pretty sure the next year he got a hummer because he developed a fear of soccer moms. Then there's the year I finished the last few pages of Anna Karenina, the year we were interviewed for the radio, the year they played on the soccer field and everyone was cheering and all excited.

These practices mean a lot to me. Training camp keeps getting shorter and every year it's a question of what day, who's available, and will we even recognize any of the players. It used to be a small event. Kind of like a mini-localized fanatical community. Now it's gone corporate, with special brochures this year and Monday night post-practice movies. But it's still our guys. Still our training camp. Still the 90% guarantee that I will go home during the first few days of August.

And yes, I did clip my knitting bag to my jeans and knit away while wishing Matt Moore would come to my side of the fence. He's a beautiful, beautiful man.

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