As some of you know, I named my only child (4 year old son) Zachary and his middle nameThomas, after the great dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas. My great grandfather was a Dolfan, my grandfather, my father and uncle, me and my brothers etc. it was an easy time growing up. I grew up in west palm Florida, live games were local, went to games, sports radio and tv centered around my beloved phins. Jerseys were everywhere in Walmart and sports authority, it was impossible to not carry on my family tradition by watching the phins and being a die hard fan.
Fast forward to 2008. My son is born at Wellington regional hospital in south Florida. My wife and I love his name. I played middle linebacker my entire football career through college. Some say I resemble ZTs looks. 1 minute after he came into this world the nurse said and I quote (swear to god) "look at his wide shoulders, he looks like a linebacker"
It was perfect.
Fast forward to 2012. We moved to Charlotte nc in early 2008, a couple of months after he was born. Now at 4 years old he has his own opinion. His own independence. I have nfl ticket. I watch the dolphins. I have jerseys. A Zachary Thomas fathead stands tall in my sons room. However, cam newtons smile dominates this city. His "superman" celebration trumps a handshake here. My son emulates it. My son gravitates to the giant panther statues that guard the gates of bank of America stadium every time we are near it. He loves the panther growl, the black, silver, powder blue colors. The silver helmet. The mean cat gracing the shiny helmet. At four years old cam newton is really superman and the panthers are all he hears outside of my home. His friends parents have a scowling cat painted on their back window of their cars, on their front license plates. His friends have panther lunch boxes and shirts. He is different. He has orange and aqua lunch boxes and shirts. He wonders why.
So here I am looking for tickets to the dolphins and panthers preseason game for August 17th. Looking for 3 tickets. Taking my son to his first nfl game. His first ever time inside of that stadium. My wife and I state "we are rooting for the dolphins. Who are you rooting for Zachary?"
He shoots back "the pampers" so a matter of factly that I am stunned. I say "but daddy is a dolphins fan. Dolphins are awesome!!!"
Without even blinking he states coldly "yeah well I am rooting for the panthers, and we're going to kick your butt!!!!"
...............kill me. Pull the plug. I'd rather be hit by a garbage truck than hear not only my son rooting for someone else and breaking my families decades of tradition, but hearing him TALK **** TO ME ABOUT BEATING MY TEAM.
I am stunned. I am falling backwards, stumbling, gasping for air. So I sit him down. Pull out the laptop. Google "Zach Thomas" pictures. I show him. I show him ZT highlights. 1972 highlights. Show him Dan Marino highlights all with tears in my eyes. I grind it home to the point where I show him a picture of ZT and ask "who's that?" he answers, "Zach Thomas"
"what team do the play for?"
YES YES YES
"so Zachary, who's your favorite team?"
*gun to head. Pull trigger. BOOM*
Looks like you guys gave a new fan on board, wether I like it or not.......