The 2018 Belk Bowl saw two college football teams play at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. The stadium hosts home games for the Carolina Panthers NFL team. The University of Virginia defeated the University of South Carolina with a final score of 28-0. I was fortunate enough to win two tickets to the Gridiron Club for the Belk Bowl. The Gridiron Club luxury suite renovation was complete ahead of the 2008-2009 football season according to Turner Construction. Normally, season ticket prices for one of the 282 seats in the Gridiron Club run $4,900 plus a one time fee of $10,000 to $15,000 dollars.
The Gridiron Club offers a unique fan experience not found in other luxury suites at Bank of America Stadium. As you walk in the Gridiron Club, everything is to the right except for bathrooms and a coat rack. Before you reach the large bar area, you will pass by private lockers and a viewing area with theater seating. For a typical Panthers football game, the bar is fully stocked with beer, wine, liquor, mixers, coffee, and bottled water. Everything but liquor was offered for the Belk Bowl. The large area past the bar contains food stations with various options. There are a number tables and seats around the bar area for people to eat or watch a plethora of televisions.
In addition to enjoying the indoor amenities, each game ticket includes an assigned outdoor seat. The outdoor seats are cushioned and larger than the average stadium seat. Televisions and heaters hang overhead to make the experience even more enjoyable. There is ample legroom and a shelf to hold food and beverages. I have never had a more comfortable experience watching a football game. While end zone corner seating is considered a less desirable view of the field, the amenities more than make up for the location. My friend and I had an amazing day at the Belk Bowl. I highly recommend attending any football game if you are given the chance to experience it inside the Gridiron Club.
The start of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Many people create New Year’s resolutions after the holiday season ends. One of the most common resolutions is improving one’s health through exercising. A resolution can be anything you want to accomplish, whether it is health related or trying something new. I have read many self-help articles on achieving goals to improve my performance with graduate school, relationships, and hobbies. I would like to share a few general tips that were very helpful in reaching my own goals.
Set Realistic Expectations and Goals
You should be honest with yourself and set realistic goals that are achievable. The motivation to reach a goal will die fast when it seems impossible to reach. If your true goal feels like a stretch than a reality, try setting milestones along the way. It is more important to see continuous improvement over time than to set time limits or become fixated on a specific outcome.
Positive Mentality is Critical to Success
A re-occurring theme in self-help articles is having the right mentality to accomplish a goal. You are more likely to improve and succeed in reaching a goal if you believe you can do it. Positive mental energy goes a long way to help you stay motivated. In addition, believing in yourself improves your overall happiness during the process of achieving a goal.
A Results-Oriented Focus is Wrong
A common trap in reaching goals is justifying your efforts specifically by the results. This can lead to negative feelings and emotion rather than positive motivation to continue working harder. Learning and improving through dedicated practice will produce results over time. The amount of time it can take to reach a goal can vary. A good example is when someone starts lifting weights for the first time. It is common to see quick strength improvements from lifting weights when you have never worked out before. However, at some point your performance gains slow down and it becomes much harder to notice improvements. Maintaining a results-oriented approach to lifting can cause negative feelings that your efforts are not working. You should expect to hit plateaus and speed bumps along the way to reaching any goal.
Practice Makes Perfect
You do not become a professional athlete without hours and hours of practice. Some people have innate talent that gives them an advantage, but mastering that talent still requires practice. To accomplish a goal, you must put forth effort over time. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practicing to master a task. While your goal may not require 10,000 hours to accomplish, the underlying theme is practice makes perfect.
Time is Precious
There are 168 hours in a given week. If you work a full-time job and sleep eight hours a day, then your remaining free time is 72 hours. Assuming you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner; you can narrow the 72 hours down to around 58 hours. Fitting in time to go to the gym, write a blog post, or read a book can become a challenge. Sometimes you must give up one thing to add something else to your busy schedule. Making your goal a priority in your life will help you find the time to reach it.
This past year was full of joyous memories, countless hours of graduate school, and celebrating many weddings (including my own). I accomplished my goal of continuing to write each week, even when life was very busy. While I did not win an invitation to another regional Magic: The Gathering tournament, I did place second and fourth in competitive constructed tournaments. Time is precious and I had to cut back time on my personal hobbies to make time for more important things. Practice makes perfect as I focused on playing two specific deck strategies in Magic: The Gathering that led to winning cash prizes. Even when I did not have time to play, I read helpful articles and wrote out strategies to implement against other decks. The only results I expected from my blog, school work, and hobbies were doing my best at any given time. I was realistic with expectations and prioritized time with my wife and friends when necessary. Thank you as well for reading and supporting my website throughout 2018. One of my goals for 2019 is to continue creating new and interesting content. Happy New Year to you and your family.
I am happy to announce that I will be hosting a panel at Ichibancon in Concord, NC on January 12th, 2019. The convention is held at the Embassy Suites Hotel Concord from January 10th through the 13th. My panel will start Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Events 2 room. I will cover Japan travel tips, planning basics, fun facts, and a sushi etiquette crash course. The full convention schedule can be found here. If you plan to attend the convention and would like to meet up, send me a message. I plan to be a Ichibancon most of Saturday wearing my full kimono outfit.
Get Some Game is a locally owned and operated collectibles store and Esports center located at 1224 Commercial Avenue. They offer a large selection of board games, card games, collectibles, figurines, models, and much more. In addition, they have two large play spaces for games such as Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, Cardfight! Vanguard, and Dungeons & Dragons. If tabletop gaming is not of interest to you, there are a number of other options available for entertainment. GSG has a few arcade games, a VR (virtual reality) room, and the newly opened Esports gaming room. Their Esports gaming room houses 12 computers where two teams of up to 6 players can battle each other. Popular Esports games include Fortnite, League of Legends, and Dota 2. Customers can rent the space for birthday parties, overnight events, or by the hour. Various rental rates are offered for the VR equipment and PC gaming computers.
As you walk in the front door of GSG, the room to your left is full of tables and arcade machines. This room is primarily used for non-Magic: The Gathering trading card games, board games, and Dungeons & Dragons. Often, you will find people playing Yu-Gi-Oh! or participating in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
Heading to the right-side room from the front door takes you to the second gaming room. This room contains tables primarily used for Magic: The Gathering along with a counter to make purchases. The television on the wall often shows gaming and sports events. There is a coffee shop called Comic Girl Coffee located adjacent to the game room. They sell a variety of beverages and small bites.
GSG hosts a multitude of weekly and monthly events for various trading card and tabletop games. Their schedule of events and hours can be found on their website. GSG often participates as a vendor at comic and Japanese culture conventions around the state. Stop by the store or vendor booth to see what GSG has to offer.
Bistro La Bon is a Modern European restaurant located in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte, NC. A second location is opening soon in the Cotswold Village Shopping Center. Bistro's menu offers an array of small plates and signature dishes that are sure to delight. Gluten free and vegetarian options are available for anyone with dietary restrictions. Brunch is available on the weekends with slight differences between Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's menu offers brunch favorites you would expect to see. However, Sunday is a fantastic brunch buffet containing meats, pastries, fruit, and other great options. In addition to food, Bistro offers a large wine menu and other alcoholic beverages for any occasion.
I recently went to Bistro with my wife and a few friends for the Thursday wine special. We ordered a variety of small plates and signature dishes to share. The Seafood Mac & Cheese, Madras Mussels, and Lamb Kofta were some of the group's favorites. I also ordered the Hickory Nut Gap Port Belly that was quite tasty. For anyone dining at Bistro for the first time, I would recommend ordering multiple small plates to try more of the menu options.
My wife, friends, and I had an enjoyable evening at Bistro. Gino, our server, was fantastic and fulfilled all of our requests quickly. The General Manager, Miguel, is an outstanding gentleman and stopped by our table to say hello. I would recommend Bistro for a girls' night out, date night, dinner with the friends, or brunch gathering.