All my life, my dad has been a football fan. From an early age, I knew that my dad loved sports, but football held a special place in his heart. As I grew up, I heard numerous stories, read articles and articles and viewed tons of pictures of my dad playing HS and college football (better known as his heyday...all of our parents have them.) But as much as he loved football, it was always a sore spot for him when it came to the NFL.
After the Colts left town in the middle of the night in 1984, I think a piece of my dad’s heart for the NFL went with them. I remember my dad never fully committing to an NFL team during “the dark years” when Baltimore didn’t have a team.
He didn’t want to be a Redskins fan, mainly because he partly blamed Jack Kent Cooke for blocking an expansion team opportunity. He didn’t want to root for the Steelers, because he was no one’s bandwagon fan and didn’t like rooting for fan favorites. So he (seldom) rooted for the Eagles, though he was never truly comfortable with calling them “his team.”
When the Ravens finally arrived in 1996, all of that changed. From the day they set foot to town, my father made sure to support them in any way he could. He attended the Ravens inaugural game against the Raiders (which they won!), as well as every game during their first two seasons at Memorial Stadium.
When the Ravens finally got a new stadium home, he didn’t flinch when it was revealed that he would have to buy a PSL to go with the season tickets. To say my dad is a supporter of his team is an understatement; my dad is a part of their success as well.
As a daddy’s girl, whatever my dad told me is what I went by. My dad could do no wrong in my eyes. So when he told me to NEVER root for a team that doesn’t reside in your city/state, I listened. My dad was a true “homer,” in every sense of the word. He believed if your city had a team, support them, because if you don’t, some other city will, and after the events that took place in March of 1984, he never wanted that to happen again.
Until the Ravens came to town, I was all about the O’s (no jokes, please...we were good then.) Football was a backup dancer to me, and the Orioles were the main attraction, because 1. They were good, and 2. They were from MY city.
I wasn’t familiar with the Ravens and quite frankly, they had to earn my respect and approval. But with time and patience, my dad allowed me to see why they should be a part of my history. I think it’s safe to say I’m a Ravens fan because of my dad.
The Ravens brought the NFL back to life for my dad. And in turn, my dad passed the torch to me and my brothers. If you ask me how I became a Ravens fan, it’s partly true that I didn’t have much of a choice. But 15 years later, I know I made the right choice, the ONLY choice.
Thank you, daddy.
-The NFL Chick