June 5th, 2013 will be a day that I’ll never forget. The world champion Baltimore Ravens got to visit the White House – and I tagged along.
I’ve been afforded the opportunity to witness many memorable things this past year. These moments are something that I’m humbled by and definitely will never take for granted, or forget. What did I do deserving enough to go to the White House? I have no idea. But I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by.
My counterpart for the afternoon was Glenn Younes from 105.7 The Fan, who I carpooled with on this adventure. Glenn grew up in D.C., has walked past the White House hundreds of times and is quite a city driver, even though he owns a big SUV. Upon walking to the media entrance of the North Lawn, we stopped for a picture. A few tourists were there taking pictures and overheard me constantly referring to Glenn as “Congressman.” That piqued their interest enough for a photo.
Click photos to enlarge
Glenn and I walked to the media entrance and entered into the screening area. For purposes of national security, I will not disclose the screening process; however, both Glenn and I escaped without a serious violation to our dignity. We walked down a long driveway past an area where the major news stations are set up. Since world news breaks whenever it feels like it, they always have to be prepared.
After passing the giant tent village, we were taken to a gathering area. Since the event was being documented by many people who aren’t commonly inside the White House, I figured we were just going inside to an air conditioned area before we would be led out to the South Lawn. Once inside, we were placed into a room I have seen many times before – the James S. Brady press briefing room.
On TV, the room looks huge. In actuality, it’s maybe 15 feet wide.
Screen cap from White House video:
The President’s View:
While in the press room, we had about an hour to kill and many people were taking pictures up at the podium and staff urged us to do so as well. So, of course, we obliged. I announced to the press that the Super Bowl champions were here:
And Glenn balanced the budget in a whopping 30 seconds:
Eventually an announcement was made over the loudspeaker that the event on the South Lawn would be taking place and we should proceed to exit the press room. Once outside, we were escorted through a small area inside the White House before being taken into a beautiful courtyard. The Government spares no expense on grounds keeping, doing a job that could even put Camden Yards to shame.
Here are some shots of the nice patio area, through which eventually Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie Newsome and President Barack Obama would walk.
We then walked to a roped off area for the media. There were roughly 150 people in attendance, seated in the lawn area to view the ceremony. The Vince Lombardi trophy sat atop a small table by itself as the team began to situate themselves before walking outside. It was very strange to see that an object that means so much to American sports was dwarfed by something bigger. There isn’t often a time where the Lombardi trophy gets overshadowed, but today, you couldn’t remove your eyes from what is arguably the most powerful building in the world.
Minutes later, the team began to file down the steps. Former Ravens Super Bowl linebacker and current director of player development O.J. Brigance joined the team for the ceremony. Once Brigance was in place, President Obama along with general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh walked out from the same patio we were just in a few minutes before.
At that point, the ceremony began – which most have seen over the television broadcast. The White House did a great job with infusing as much Ravens pride into the celebration as possible. As the team began to file out of the White House, the military musicians began to play the instrumental version of the Ravens/Colts fight song. After the ceremony had finished and the crowd began to give their applause, “Seven Nation Army” began to play as the crowd started the infamous chant now commonly linked with the team.
Finally, President Obama shook the hands of many in attendance and walked off into the West Wing of the White House by himself.
In all, it was amazing to be just feet from the President and the ceremony was something that I’ll never forget. Even though the media was not given access to the players, it was more of a time to celebrate, on the biggest stage possible, the achievements made by the 2012 Baltimore Ravens.
What a day?!? I’m honored to be a Ravens fan and even more honored to be an American. As coach Harbaugh said during the ceremony, “we have plans to come back next year.”