Growing up I developed a fond place in my heart for video games. More specifically, Madden video games. I remember when I was six years old the first video game I got was Madden '02 and the first time I started playing it asked me to select my favorite team before I could begin playing. Being the six year old child with ADHD I was, this decision was nothing short of impossible. So as I was scrolling through the teams eventually a team caught my eyes; the Baltimore Ravens.
At the age of six I had already been living in South Carolina for two years and knew nothing of my relatives back up north. All I knew at the time of this decision was that I was from around Baltimore, the Ravens had the coolest name and logo available, and of course a 99 ranked defense; it was a match-made in heaven at the time for my six-year-old self. Of course, reflecting back now, these seem like petty reasons to chose the Baltimore Ravens as my favorite team, but hey sometimes things just work out that way.
From that day forward I lived, breathed, ate, and slept nothing but Baltimore Ravens this and Baltimore Ravens that, dedicated to immersing myself in everything purple and black until I was the ultimate Ravens fan.
Growing up in South Carolina I faced a bit of ridicule from the local Panthers fans who never quite understood why I wasn't throwing on the 'ol Delhomme jersey and heading up to Charlotte to hear a panther roar every time the cats moved the ball forward 3 yards. Despite the digs by these black and blue blasphemers I pushed on and stayed dedicated to my birds in hopes that one day I would see my team win it all, and this last season I finally enjoyed that luxury.
Now I'm not going to give you guys a detailed account on my journey toward Ravens nirvana, however I will tie this article back to what it is actually about: what it means to be a Ravens fan.
Throughout my decade or so of being a Ravens fan I've realized something; no matter what hardships you may be going through in life or whatever hoops you have to jump through on a week to week basis there is always Ravens football to look forward to. I have seen the Baltimore Ravens suck as bad is it gets (talking to you Kyle Boller) and I have seen them in the greatest possible triumph.
No matter what record the Baltimore Ravens have, they have and always will be a boulder in my life; unmovable. The Baltimore Ravens are a symbol of hope when I feel like giving up because rain or shine my purple birds of Baltimore will always be there. No matter what break-up I'm going through, no matter what family tragedy I am suffering with, no matter what metaphorical pothole in my road of life is hindering me I always can look forward to our 53 mighty men battling it out on Sunday.
Win or lose, being able to escape from reality for a few hours and watch my team put everything they have out on the field is the best perk of being a Ravens fan. Hell, that's the best perk of being a fan of any sports team. To the average person it probably sounds silly to place something so emotional on a sports team! But like I said, they are a symbol of hope. Moments like seeing Ray Lewis dance in M&T Bank Stadium for the final time and seeing Joe Flacco kiss the Lombardi trophy are what keeps me roped in. It's moments like these that send me into a pure sports-induced euphoria; a feeling that can't quite be explained. It's like for a brief moment you get to escape from the riff-raff of everyday life and even if for a little bit relish the glory that comes from your team being the best and all of your troubles just wash away.
That's what it means to be a Baltimore Ravens fan.