A Mindset Change

by Daniel Wheeler

USC v Notre Dame

After months of anticipation, the draft is over! A lot of questions have surrounded the offseason on what direction the Carolina Panthers were heading in. Also, there was a lot of curiosity on why they did not make a single big splash in free agency when losing big pieces of the team. At the end of the draft, The Panthers ended up with: 2 quarterbacks, 3 wide receivers, 2 cornerbacks, a linebacker, defensive end, and safety.

I just find it interesting on how the NFL fan’s thought process works; I used myself as a test dummy. I went into the NFL draft and while there were a few players I liked there was one player, in particular, who I was absolutely sold that he was going to be a failure in the NFL Draft, Jimmy Clausen. I just felt that the immaturity and cockiness wouldn’t help him in the growth a quarterback needs between college and professional football. I even made my personal claims about Clausen throughout the week.

“If I had the last pick in the NFL Draft and Jimmy Clausen was on the board, I wouldn’t pick him.”

“Jimmy Clausen has the maturity of Jay Cutler!”

“The Clausen last name, in the dictionary, is defined as losers!”

As you could tell, I wasn’t a big fan of the Carolina Panthers adding Jimmy Clausen. As the work day went through and you can’t use your cell phone during work, I was curious on whom the Panthers were going to select with their first pick in the NFL Draft. My work day ended at 7:30 P.M. and I looked on my phone to the ESPN website. The first article that was up was “Panthers select Jimmy Clausen with the 48th pick”. I felt a lot of anger as I that was about the last pick I wanted the Carolina Panthers to make. I proceed to call about 4 to 5 people on the way home getting their opinion on what they felt about Clausen because a lot of the “experts” seem to think that Clausen is the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft; only two of the 4 to 5 people had something positive to say about Clausen.

I was fuming the long hour drive home from work, then the next day I woke up and a metamorphosis occurred. As a fan of the team I love, I changed from the person I was. Not only was I putting my personal issues with a particular player aside, but I was actually looking forward to seeing the future with this player being a part of the Panthers organization; sounds sickening doesn’t it?

I soon realized this truth: The power of being a fan of a team is very powerful! I went from absolutely loathing Jimmy Clausen and hoping for his failure to having a belief that Jimmy Clausen not only will end up being successful, but becoming a valuable part of the organization. If you love your team and they’ve picked a player you absolutely hated and didn’t make this transformation, then I just don’t find you a true fan of your team. I think my transformation is what a loyal fan does when they pick someone you don’t agree with. Sure, the intensity and animosity will come out at the beginning, but once everything is calm you really just want this player to work and make your team a World Champion; after all, that’s what every fan wants!