WINSTON-SALEM, NC (WBTV) - Some toddlers play puzzles, but 2-year-old Avalyn Maier likes to play "Panthers," pointing out players from quarterback Cam Newton to linebacker Thomas Davis.
Avalyn, from Winston-Salem, started to notice a roster her dad picked up at the team's training camp. Thomas Maier says the roster sat on the counter and each morning Avalyn wanted to see it.
"Rawwrrr," Avalyn says when Dad asks what the big Panther says. One day, jokingly, Thomas asked Avalyn, "could you find Cam Newton?"
Avalyn pointed right to him. She was a year old at the time.
That may not have been the response Thomas expected, but being a huge Panthers fan, he wasn't complaining. From that point on, Thomas says he "just started." He started asking Avalyn where Luke Kuechly was. She pointed to him.
When Avalyn pointed out Mike Remmers, Thomas was impressed. Not many people know who he is, Thomas said, but "she thinks he's hilarious because he has a red beard."
Like many fans, even Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera, Thomas is superstitious. So when the Panthers lost to the Atlanta Falcons, Thomas says he pulled the roster back out, "before Tampa Bay."
"She watches the games," Thomas said of Avalyn, who turned two on Christmas.
Avalyn hasn't been to a game yet, but she watches plenty from home. "She'll wanna wear Panthers gear with me," Thomas said.
She sits on the floor and eats crackers, Thomas says, "She thinks it's a cracker party."