Mark Washburn

This is the winter of our sports content

A November surprise: A protester dangling at the Panthers game against the Colts November 2, 2015 at Bank of America Stadium.
A November surprise: A protester dangling at the Panthers game against the Colts November 2, 2015 at Bank of America Stadium.

Something epic is going on.

Both our major-league franchises are topping the standings. Both of them. No statistical fluke, either. Both are solid.

This hasn’t happened since:

▪  Domestication of goats.

▪  America Online was the next big thing.

▪  Strangers started asking, “Are yuh ready for Christmas?”

Or, basically, never. Thus, it’s no wonder that we don’t know how to act.

Cities with generations-deep experience in their pro teams go bananas when they’re surging. Philly, Boston and Detroit turn riotous. Chicago dances in the slush. San Francisco orders another chardonnay.

Charlotte imposes a sign restriction.

Two-feet by two-feet is the new normal at Bank of America Stadium for rabid fans who want to poster their support. This keeps raucous Green Bay fans from distracting our quarterback. It seems to be working.

Game-day etiquette has always been a core Panthers value. You can paint yourself blue if you want, but you’ll keep your shirt on.

It’s easier to get through airport security for a non-stop to Syria than to enter an NFL stadium these days.

In ever-polite Charlotte, this is due in part to the November breach by the Dangler Gang. During the third-quarter of the Colts game, they unpacked their rappelling gear in a stadium where you can’t even bring an umbrella and hung from the upper deck like spring cankerworms.

They were protesting something I can’t remember. There will be no more of that.

Charlotte has a complicated relationship with pro basketball in a bad boyfriend/girlfriend sort of way. But this year’s Hornets team is erasing memories of past transgressions.

We thought we’d never love again, and now look at us, all aglow. Some nights the arena is full of chanting fans, every single one thrilled that the name of the team isn’t the Bobcats.

Things are clicking in the lesser leagues too. Bringing the Knights back downtown has infused uptown nights with energy, and the Checkers have brightened the dusty bones of Bojangle’s Arena.

If you went to build a town to host big sports events, you’d wind up with Charlotte. Thriving hotels, restaurants and bars within walking distance of a first-class sports venue (thank you, taxpayers) are making us a destination for bowls and other events.

All that’s good, but this is better: we’ve suddenly got winning teams. Two of them. At once.

It’s rare as a total eclipse, so enjoy the moment. It’s understandable we don’t know how to act. We’ve never rehearsed. No need to get fatalistic right now.

Just keep pounding.

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