Recently I was asked to think of a super Ravens fan. The “super fan” I was told could not be one of those Hall of Fame fans that you’ve come to know and love like Sports Steve, Poetic Justice, Purple Dame, Captain Defense and the rest of those wonderfully crazed people.
It didn’t take me long to come up with my choice – Marlyn Pietruszka.
Miss Mar as I so affectionately call her, is well into her golden years and bumping up against the age of 80. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I don’t even know her exact age and that’s probably because it has never mattered. She has an infectiously endearing youthfulness about her that when she socializes with folks half her age, you don’t even realize the true generational gap that is in reality Grand Canyon-like.
She’s a diehard Ravens fan and her home in Ocean City’s Montego Bay area is a shrine to both her beloved Ravens and her first love of the gridiron, the Baltimore Colts.
Each home game Miss Mar awakes with the sun, dyes her beautiful snow white hair purple and then travels westbound with her Ravens Roost 44 “family” by bus to M&T Bank Stadium. She rarely misses a game. When the Ravens are away, you’ll find her with that same family at The Original Greene Turtle on 116th Street.
To say Miss Mar is passionate about her team would be an understatement. The Ravens have never played a game that she didn’t think they would win including one back on September 30, 2002 when the (0-2) Ravens hosted the (3-0) Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.
The Broncos came to Baltimore as the league’s hottest team and they were listed as 9-point road favorites on a wonderful fall night with temps in the mid 60’s. The game was won by Miss Mar’s team 34-23, and it wasn’t even that close as the Ravens led 31-3 at half.
But during the game something happened and for me it is the reason why I never hesitated to nominate Miss Mar as THE “super fan”.
Broncos’ quarterback Brian Griese dropped back to pass and was pressured by Michael McCrary from behind. Now back in those days, the “in-the-grasp” rule was enforced when defenders had quarterbacks under wraps.
McCrary gave Griese a big old bear hug and as he did the ball squirted out and tumbled forward a few yards.
The Ravens recovered.
Referee Jeff Triplette and his crew decided to review the play. Nearly everyone watching at home or live assumed that the crew was trying to determine if the ruling would be a fumble or an in-the-grasp sack.
The review, one that should have been pretty simple, took a surprisingly long period of time and when the verdict was in, it wasn’t a good one for Ravens fans — incomplete pass.
The stadium went nuts and so did Miss Mar.
If obscenities could fly the then Ravens Stadium would have been an airport. Miss Mar is far too much of a lady to let the bowling alley words fly but she did give Jeff Triplette the business. And as she forcefully voiced her opinion something unexpected happened – her dentures were sent airborne.
Without skipping a beat, Miss Mar got down on her knees, fished around blindly with her hands under the seat in front of her and located those ejected choppers.
She took the dentures, poured a little Coors Light on them to “sterilize” those pearly whites, popped them back in her mouth as if they were a football player’s mouthpiece, and then continued to give Triplette the business.
Miss Mar, she’s genuinely a one-of-a-kind super fan.
And I’m blessed to have her in my life.