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Outsports weekend in Charlotte

My Christmas present to Jim last year was a ticket to an NFL game of his choice this year. He chose the Colts-Panthers game this past weekend, so we spent about 60 hours in Charlotte, N.C. I was pleasantly surprised. It was more built-up, more cosmopolitan than I had anticipated (though you should know I anticipated very little).

We spent Saturday afternoon in Winston-Salem, about 90 minutes north of Charlotte. We got two scalped tickets to the UNC-Wake Forest game. We were both blown away by how terrible the offenses were, and we both walked away with stronger convictions of how great Pac 10 football, with so many teams that can score at will, is. We met up with MarcusF, a longtime discussion board member, for lunch (and Krispy Kremes!).

The centerpiece of the weekend was the Colts-Panthers game. I think Jim and I were both a little surprised by how badly the Colts played, which wasn't nearly as badly as the Panthers played. Afterward, Kyle the soccer coach met up with us, and it was great to meet him. Unfortunately, I was engrossed in the Patriots blowout win over the Redskins, but it was awesome to finally meet him face-to-face and hear what he's been up to.

A major highlight of the weekend was spending Saturday evening with Matt the wrestler. He's a Div.1 athlete at a college near Charlotte, and he had never been to a gay bar. We drug him (kicking and screaming - yeah, right) to his first gay bar, Velocity, on a night when most everyone was dressed in some crazy garb for Halloween. It was neat, 11 years after my first gay bar, to relive the experience through someone else's eyes. It made the weekend for both Jim and me.

I never would have gone to Charlotte otherwise, and it was a nicer place than I had anticipated. Except for the "Billy Graham" this and that; I could have done without that. -Cyd Zeigler jr.