Mounty Holly, NC - With the NFC championship Sunday, it seems all of the Charlotte area is living, eating, breathing panthers, but one fan has taken it to a whole new level.
Over the years, Mount Holly resident, Patrick Leclair, has created a “Man Cave” devoted to his favorite team. He says stepping inside is like walking into football heaven.
“I’m an older guy but I’m like a kid in a candy store with all this.”
From top to bottom, it’s covered in all things Carolina Panthers, from jerseys to autographed gloves, to an old goal post. Even the door itself is covered in autographs from the players and Coach Ron Rivera. “I was sitting in here thinking, ‘what else could I take down there that’s different than anybody else.”
Leclair has been a fan of the team ever since their inception but it wasn’t until 2005 that he started collecting memorabilia. What he’s become most proud of are the photos he takes at every home game using a Digital-SLR camera. He takes at least one every single play, sometimes capturing as many as 3,000 photos in one game.
“It’s funny while I’m looking at it, I think, ‘Wow, I did that?” And this picture right here is actually hanging in one of the coach’s offices.”
Among his favorite is one he took field-side last year of DeAnjelo Williams, who now plays for the Pittsburgh Stealers. The hobby also supports various causes. He has them auctioned off for various charities, such as The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, The March of Dimes, and Susan G. Koman Foundation. “The highest I’ve gotten for one photograph is $1,100.”
He hopes his photos and memorabilia will bring the team good luck on Sunday.
“We really want to win this game and we’re only one game away from going to the Super Bowl.”
But no matter the outcome, Leclair will always remain a die-hard Panthers fan. He will be at the game tomorrow in the second row.