When I was a youngster in the seventh grade, I was called down to the Principal's office out of homeroom one morning. Since it was too early for me to be in trouble again, I was a but curious as to why. My mother was on the telephone and asked me if I wanted to go to the World Series that day with my dad, who had been given two tickets.
I screamed and the office staff thought something bad had happened in my family. I skipped back to class and immediately got in trouble for telling everyone about what I was leaving school early for, disrupting the class although I knew even my teacher was jealous.
The Baltimore Orioles were hosting the Cincinnati Reds in the third game of the 1970 World Series. That was the year the Big Red Machine was supposed to roll over the Orioles but Baltimore had won the first two games and was on a roll. Hall of Fame third-baseman Brooks Robinson made his now famous diving catch off the bat of Johnny Bench. The Orioles went on to twin the game and the series in five games.
I was a twelve year old and on top of the world. I still have my ticket stub and program from that day. Years later, I went to the Orioles fantasy camp and brought a black-and-white photo of Brooksie diving for that ball and asked him to sign it for me. He wrote, "Thanks for being their," and I cracked up after reading how he had spelled "there" incorrectly, making it a bit more special piece of memorabilia.
The only other time I felt this way was as the clock ran down in Super Bowl 35, and the Baltimore Ravens were on top of the football world, about to hoist the Lombardi Trophy after an improbable season that saw them win their last seven regular season games, sweep through the playoffs and smash the New York Giants 35-7.
My brother-in-law and I flew to Tampa without tickets. He paid a vendor $600 to sneak him into the stadium without a seat. I paid a guy $1500 for one ticket and tried to get $2500 before finally heading into the stadium. We switched seats quarter-by-quarter while the other one walked around the stadium, sneaking in entrances to catch glimpses of the game.
By the end of the third quarter and the outcome no longer in doubt, scores of Giants fans were leaving and he sat down next to me. Surprisingly, the vendor who snuck him in was sitting right in front of us and told us he snuck six people in at $600 each, and then quit his one-day job. Not a bad day of making $3,600 for himself, huh?
Anyway, seeing the Ravens win that game after going five straight games without scoring a touchdown, shutting out four opponents, and giving up the least points in a 16-game season, had to rank amongst the best sports memories of recent times and combined with the one as a youngster, will have to satisfy me for now since the world could be coming to an end before the Ravens go on a six game winning streak that would have culminated with another Lombardi Trophy for my favorite player of all-time, Ray Lewis.
What's your favorite sports memory? Quick now, Friday is coming!