A Sunny Day & The Silver Lining
On May 14, 2018 I lost my Dad at the age of 82. He suffered with many ailments as a senior citizen but he was tough as nails. He never wanted to admit that the debilitating illnesses and emasculating side effects ever affected him. He taught and sought the silver lining in everything and always greeted you with a smile or a joke, or both.
He tried to make YOU feel better about your visit instead of the other way around.
His words of wisdom I remember often, particularly on today, his birthday.
Given Dad’s pleasant demeanor and his desire to always find the good in everything, my sister and I decided that we would not host a traditional funeral for Dad. Instead, we wanted his passing to be a celebration of what was – a joyous occasion of his life and not a sad gathering to mourn his death.
We encouraged everyone to wear bright colors. We wanted family and friends to come together to bring laughter and cheer and share their memories of Dad. It was absolutely the right thing to do and it was exactly what Dad would have wanted. I can still hear him saying to me, decades ago:
“When I’m gone, you can put me in a wooden box and float me down a river. Just make sure to have a party!”
And that’s what we did Pop.
St. Leo’s Church in Little Italy was our choice of venue for Dad’s mass. He grew up right next door to the church and it just seemed like the right call, particularly after meeting with those who would provide the service – all understanding our wish to celebrate.
It was a gloriously sunny day and after the mass we ventured downstairs to St. Leo’s hall where we broke bread together, told stories, looked at pictures and watched a video about Pop that I know he would have loved.
When we left St. Leo’s, many ventured back to Lib’s Grill in Perry Hall where our celebration of Dad continued. Drinks flowed, while love and kindness and thoughtfulness were in full bloom. Friends really are the family you choose.
During a quiet moment, which was probably just a few seconds, yet seemed to suspend me in time in a surrealistic way, I looked around at this wonderful gathering of many, taking it all in and just thinking of how happy Pop would be and how blessed I was to be associated with all of these incredible people.
I watched friends laugh, share warm embraces – we were all there because of Pop. As I admired my surroundings a sound snapped me out of my semi-dreamlike state and back to reality. The sound was the opening chords to CCR’s Have You Ever Seen The Rain? The song galvanized the gathering even more and we all sang together:
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain,
Comin’ down on a sunny day.
Ironically, Pop’s nickname was Sonny. And it really was his day.
So what does this have to do with the Ravens and/or Russell Street Report?
While reading posts on our message board and social media assets, and also some of the comments shared at the bottom of our articles on RSR, there just seems to be an overriding vibe of negativity from the Ravens fan base.
Here’s the reality…
The Ravens sit at (3-2) and atop the AFC North. It hasn’t been pretty. There’s plenty of work to do and holes to fill in order for the team to get better. Organizationally the Ravens will do exactly that. It remains to be seen if they’ll fix things in time this season to make a playoff run or not, but make no mistake about it, things will get better and when they do, the Ravens will be better consistently – for years to come.
We are watching the maturation of Lamar Jackson before our very eyes. We are seeing the development of other budding stars like Ronnie Stanley, Mark Andrews, Marlon Humphrey and Marquise Brown. The Ravens will have plenty of draft picks and cap space in 2020 to continue their ascent among the league’s elite. They have a head coach who understands how to nurture a team, to forge them in such a way that they play for each other, not just for the man in the mirror. And they have an excellent front office enabled by an owner willing to do what it takes to not just build a good team, but to build a modern day dynasty.
Of course, the Ravens have warts. Of course, there are challenges to overcome. What team doesn’t have them? But it’s the teams that take on those challenges the best, who succeed long-term. Acquiring a Jadeveon Clowney or Jalen Ramsey to win this year while risking the future salary cap and draft capital, is not the right approach.
Thankfully the Ravens get it. They have the prerequisite patience to see things through so that they can be a regular playoff participant. Some fans would be wise to sit back, observe and watch the plan unfold. Don’t get caught up in the win-now-at-all-costs way of thinking. Park the fantasy football mentality. It’s called “fantasy” for a reason.
Instead, accept the notion that the Ravens might not yet be a Super Bowl contender. It’s ok. Twenty-nine other teams aren’t either.
And now, as I’m about to wrap things up, that song is back in my head.
It’ll rain a sunny day,
I know, shining down like water.
Make no mistake about it, that silver lining is there for the Ravens.
Find it. Embrace it. Just like Dad taught.
Happy Birthday Pop!