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“We are playing for you this Sunday!”

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One of the greatest things about having an NFL team is that team’s ability to galvanize a community. No matter what your religious persuasions are; regardless of your political convictions; race and social status aside, one bond that we all share here in the Land of Pleasant Living is the Baltimore Ravens.

We celebrate Purple Friday.

As a community we become one.

Even the city’s oftentimes mean streets quiet down during game time.

Many have benefitted from this unifying force. Old friendships have been rekindled while new ones were made. Folks who regularly sit beside you at M&T Bank Stadium are like good neighbors.

Recently we lost one of our good neighbors.

On Tuesday at 10:30 AM 19-year-old Patrick Dolan was senselessly murdered. Patrick made what would prove to be a tragic mistake when he got off the bus two stops too late. While backtracking by foot a couple of blocks along with a friend, Patrick was approached by two boys looking for change for a ten dollar bill.

Trying to accommodate the boys, Patrick pulled out his wallet, a move that would result in an attempted robbery.

The robbery went bad.

An assault ensued.

Moments later Patrick was fatally stabbed.

During the viewing on Friday, friends and family honored Patrick by wearing Ravens gear. Those who knew Patrick well believed he would not want to break the Purple Friday tradition of his beloved Baltimore Ravens.

Later, during the respectful gathering, a friend brought along a football signed by the Ravens’ players. It read: “We are playing for you this Sunday.”

The message brightened the day of an incredibly solemn family and they are hopeful that somehow their appreciation of the players’ thoughtfulness can somehow be communicated to them.

What a staggering tragedy!

When I was first told of Patrick’s death by his cousin Daniela Pane, I couldn’t help but think of Al Pacino’s inspirational speech in Any Given Sunday.

You know when you get old in life things get taken from you.
That’s, that’s part of life.
But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small.

I mean one half step too late or too early you don’t quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game, every minute, every second.

And in Patrick’s case, two blocks…

The Dolan Family will be attending today’s game and undoubtedly they’ll “play” with heavy hearts.

And if there’s poetic justice in this for the Dolans, they’ll point skyward victoriously as darkness settles on the mean streets.

I hope you do too.

We’ll be thinking of you today Patrick.

After all you are one of us!

 

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