As I count down the minutes to tonight’s Orioles-Mariners game and David Hernandez’s second major league start, my mind is drifting to Purple Sundays and thoughts of Festivus.
Maybe it was watching the numerous minicamp and Ravens Roost Ocean City videos on WNST.net, but I cannot resist the urge to daydream about football season. After all, the Ravens have owned this city for well over a decade. Make no mistake, I’m certainly enjoying the recent events surrounding Matt Wieters and the Orioles, but this optimism pales in comparison to the Ravens kicking off training camp on July 27 at McDaniel College in Westminster.
As I shared with Nestor Aparicio on Limited Access last week, before entering the Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk Competition, my biggest success as a blogger was writing two Festivus poems to celebrate the Ravens’ 2008 playoff run that painfully ended only minutes shy of the Super Bowl.
After several requests, I’ve decided to post these poems to share with the WNST.net universe. Hopefully, it allows you to reminisce about the magic of the 2008 season while looking forward to Joe Flacco’s second season under center. I’m certainly not wishing the summer away, but we’re only 54 days away from training camp.
It’s never too early to start thinking Purple.
The Night Before Festivus
(adapted from “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clark Moore)
By: Luke Jones
‘Twas the night before Festivus, when all through Charm City
Ravens fans were stirring and even felt giddy.
The jerseys were hung by the chimney with flare,
In hopes that Joe Flacco soon would be there.
The fans were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of the playoffs danced in their heads.
And when we awoke and December 28 was the date,
We just settled down for a winter’s tailgate,
When out in the end zone there arose such a clatter,
The opponent looked over to see what was the matter.
In a huddle of players that looked like a flash,
The Ravens looked ready for a hard-hitting clash.
The season had boiled down to one single game
as the players were looking for more than just fame,
And what to my wondering eyes looked intense,
For it was Ray Lewis…and the Baltimore defense.
A terrifying unit, so lively and quick,
They’ll hit you, they’ll haunt you, or even grab the pick.
More rapid than wolves these hunters they came,
And Ray whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“T-Sizzle! now, JJ! now, Bannan, Haloti!
On, Trevor! on Leonhard! on, Reed and Samari!
To the top of the mountain! to the top of the hill!
Knock them out! Get the ball! Now in for the kill!”
And then, the offense, led by a menacing line,
Came onto the field and was ready to fly.
A three-headed monster was at running back,
led by McClain, a big rumbling mack.
And Mason the veteran, with his shoulder so sore,
Kept reining in passes, one, two, three, more!
And finally, a sight so perfect, so new;
a quarterback to be proud of, a little like Johnny U.
Joe Flacco was ready to take the city by storm,
his cannon for an arm much better than norm,
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And led them downfield, the fans going berserk.
The Ravens were ready to give such a gift
to the fans of Baltimore who needed the lift.
Coach Harbaugh exclaimed, while his team looked so sleek,
“Happy Festivus to all, and we’ll see you next week.”
Here is the second poem, written in the days leading up to the AFC Championship game. Unfortunately, as we all know, the Ravens’ magical run would end in Pittsburgh to the hated Steelers.
A Festivus On the Brink
By: Luke Jones
On the brink of greatness, these Ravens, they were,
As the fans of Baltimore continued to stir.
The Ravens were ready for just one more test
To prove that they were the AFC’s best.
Though tired and weary from a Titan contest,
the Ravens had no plans of trying to rest.
These men on a journey to climb to the peak
Were ready to play for at least one more week.
Coach Harbaugh, the general, inspired his team
To play with such heart and never say “me.”
It may not be perfect or an effort of splendor,
But they’ll show what it takes to be a contender.
From the hits of Ray Lewis to the heart of Jim Leonhard,
The flash of Bart Scott, the tough presence of Trevor,
The playmaking Reed, the work ethic of Johnson,
The strength of Haloti, the coverage of Washington.
A defense so feared with a scent for the ball,
as foes, one by one, continued to fall.
Joe Flacco looked calm without any fears.
Such a rarity, a rookie so far past his years.
Mason and Clayton kept hauling in throws
as Neal and the line gave punishing blows.
With McClain and McGahee earning big gains,
Todd Heap with the big catch, moving the chains.
And Stover, the veteran, with his kick in the clutch,
Making the game-winner with just enough touch.
But now, the Steelers, whom they had yet to unseat,
For Festivus to continue, they were the team to beat.
Their two games so close, twice a narrow, tough loss.
The Ravens were hungry to show them who’s boss.
A clash of two rivals with it all on the line,
the fans couldn’t wait until it was time.
The Ravens had given so many great gifts
To the fans of Baltimore this Festivus.
But the ultimate present was still on their list
As the players would embark to grant them their wish.
With the same punishing effort, the Ravens will try
To show just how high they really can fly.
Coach Harbaugh will shout at the end of the day,
“Festivus Maximus for all! We’ll see you in Tampa Bay.”
Let’s hope there’s a need for some more poetry next January.