The Color Purple Galvanizes a Community

Lombardi's Way The Color Purple Galvanizes a Community

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Driven by adrenalin tied directly to today’s game I awoke at 5 AM. Walking down to the kitchen I peered outside to our snow covered deck and our string of purple lights intertwined with the guard rail.

Their glow coupled with the light of the approaching dawn cast a purple glow upon the virgin snow.

And I smiled.

Today I thought, would be a purple letter day!

The excitement of the playoffs has been nothing less than exhilarating. Every play, every second is riveting. We see men, our hometown gladiators digging down into the depths of their souls, the wells of perseverance to capture sports’ ultimate prize.

This season has had a unique texture. It has been anything but smooth.  Inconsistency has plagued the Ravens, particularly on the road. Our quarterback has weathered a barrage of criticism normally earmarked for a losing team, not one who has won more games than any other quarterback over the last 4 years.

As fans we’ve waited for the Ravens to gel, to show signs of peaking. And we still wait.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that the Ravens opened the season annihilating their bitter arch rival the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7. Was that their peak?

Does it even matter?

Actually it doesn’t. What has happened is over and done. All the statistics are part of history for both teams. Past successes or failures have no influence upon what happens today. For the players today it is all about preparation both physically and mentally; winning more of their assignments than they lose; it’s about adjustments and execution.

It’s about winning and losing.

Winning has kept the Ravens’ season alive and to stay alive they will have to repeat what they did two years ago in Foxborough.

As an analyst of the team, I think the Ravens will pull off the upset in a nail biter today and they will go on to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLVI. It will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXV.

As a fan of the Ravens of course I want to see them succeed for reasons I can’t even begin to count. But mostly I want the buzz in this town to continue. We are intoxicated by the Ravens. We bathe in a sea of purple – together. The team’s success has galvanized the community. Neighbors seem like family; strangers like friends; problems are mere temporary blips on life’s radar screen.

It’s as though all is good in the world when the Ravens are winning. We talk and walk and behave like the community we want to be.

I think back to the magical 2000 season. The day that the Ravens won the Super Bowl there was one arrest made in Baltimore – one! Some dude was outside of some bar taking care of “business”. He didn’t want to wait in the bathroom line.

Yet for a moment in time we put aside our troubles and became one within Ravens Nation.

It can be that way again – a big town stuck in the shadows of DC and Philadelphia, the Rodney Dangerfield of the East Coast, can become the town everyone is talking about if only the Ravens can put together 120 minutes of outstanding football. It starts today with 60 minutes of that flavor in New England.

Ray Lewis deserves it.

Ed Reed deserves it.

Joe Flacco deserves it.

And our city, unfairly cast as nothing more than a cesspool of violence, STD’s and questionable politics, deserves it.

Let’s do this!




Let’s make that purple glow and those prideful smiles perpetual.


Photo by Photo Finish Photography 

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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