Mildred English is a die-hard sports fan from Myers Park.She’s a senior who keeps her age to herself, but the candles on her next birthday cake might exceed the number of games the Carolina Panthers have won in the last 10 seasons. English excitedly waited for the Panthers stadium to open in the mid-1990s. When season tickets went on sale, she ordered a pair of PSLs in the upper deck. Later that day she ordered a single PSL with friends in the lower deck. She was awarded all three PSLs in a lottery.She agreed to join her friends, eventually sold her other tickets and now watches from Section 200, between the visiting team tunnel and Jerry Richardson’s seats. “I like to get there for the kickoff and catch the last play,” says English, who dresses for every game sporting her team colors. “I’ve sat through rain, sleet and snow all by myself when my friends didn’t go.”English has attended all local Panther playoff games and cheered them on in the Super Bowl in 2003. One of the most exciting experiences, she said, was being on the Bank of America Stadium field last season before the start of a Panthers game. “One of my friends was celebrating a very special birthday. We spent an hour on the field before the game. It was really exciting,” said English. “We had free parking at the stadium, and a personal escort to the field. Sir Purr gave my friend a gift bag, and we received comp tickets for refreshments.” Her love for sports doesn’t stop at football: English also is a Charlotte Bobcats fan, a claim proved by her season tickets.But sometimes there are conflicts, which happens most often when the UNC Charlotte 49ers play basketball. She holds season tickets to those games, too. She even travels with friends to some of the away games.She wouldn’t think of missing a postseason game and will be heading for the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y., in March. When she can’t attend a Bobcats game, she usually gives her tickets to the Police Activities League, which gives them to youngsters. Her tickets also have been used as incentives for students to do well in school. English grew up in Monroe and attended Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University), where she received a bachelor’s degree.She worked for the American Association of Junior Colleges in Washington, D.C., and later received her master’s degree from Syracuse University. English said she is a loyal 49ers fan because that’s where her support for Charlotte teams began. In 1957, she went to work for Charlotte College, then a two-year school. She worked as business manager and director of student personnel.Charlotte College later became a four-year school and part of the University of North Carolina system, and eventually was named UNC Charlotte. When basketball season ends, English will be looking forward to football once again to support her Carolina Panthers. And she will be wearing her handmade “Miner” earrings, bearing the original 49ers logo, as she attends the first UNCC football game. She already has ordered her season tickets.
Friday, Mar. 15, 2013
Charlotte sports fan for all seasons
From left, Celia Laney, Mildred English, and Shirley Munday attend a UNC Charlotte 49ers basketball game. JUNE K. NOE
Mildred English shows off her UNC Charlotte 49ers mascot earrings that she had made for herself and her friends, Celia Laney and Shirley Munday. JUNE K. NOE