Back in 1996 when the Ravens first marched into town and the NFL returned to its righteous place, Baltimore didn’t quite have its football groove. Tailgating wasn’t quite the art form then that it is now in Charm City and how to be the best 12th man wasn’t quite understood.
Time has changed all of that for the better – much better.
Today, two Super Bowl Championships, 4 AFC Championship games and 9 playoff appearances later we’ve grown as a football community and because of football and the Baltimore Ravens, the community has improved outside of the game.
Philanthropy has expanded and new businesses have emerged while others flourished. New friendships have been born while others deepened with football as the landscape.
Football and the Ravens are a reason to come together and laugh, cry, celebrate or fret as one. Relationships exist today that would not be possible if not for the return of the NFL to Baltimore.
Back in 2004, the second season for our site then called Ravens24x7.com, a son wrote to me explaining how Ravens football changed his life.
You see, he and his Dad had been estranged for a few years, separated by foolish pride. Both dug their heels in to prove their point, that each was right, the other wrong allowing stubbornness, hard-headedness to gnaw away at the chords that bind a father and son.
When the announcement was made that Art Modell and the Cleveland Browns would be coming to Baltimore, the son took it upon himself to buy two season tickets. Finally deciding to put foolish pride on the shelf, he bought one for himself, another for his Dad.
Still feeling a bit out of sorts with his Dad, the son mailed the season ticket to his father. Weeks, even months went by and not a word from his Dad.
Game day arrived and the son went to his seat at old Memorial Stadium – and waited. He looked from side to side from his chair in the upper deck, nervous, anxious, hopeful. Would he come?
Then, making his way from the tunnel and up the stairs, walking towards him, was a familiar face. Dad accepted the son’s olive branch. They realized how silly they had been and vowed to make up for wasted time.
Brought together by the arrival of the Ravens, a father and his son rekindled their love, deepened their bond and probably affected future generations of their family in a positive way.
Football is more than just a game. It is the canvas upon which many paint the picture of their lives.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to warn my neighbors and let them know that the disturbance emanating from my home beginning at 1PM will not be the byproduct of a wild party or a domestic disturbance.
No, that will just be me watching my team, the World Champion Baltimore Ravens.
Enjoy the games…