BALTIMORE SPORTS: A LIVING CULTURE

July 25, 2013 | Josh Murr

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. LAND OF THE O AND HOME OF THE RAVEN. BIRTHPLACE OF THE COUNTRY’S ANTHEM, THE STAR SPANGELED BANNER. HOME TO ONE OF THE MOST PROLIFIC WRITERS OF OUR TIME IN EDGAR ALLAN POE. IF YOU HAVE EVER SEEN THE MOVIE WEDDING CRASHERS, THEN YOU WILL RECALL THIS FAMOUS LINE, “CRABCAKES AND FOOTBALL. THAT’S WHAT MARYLAND DOES.” THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN PICKING APART A DELICIOUS OLD BAY COVERED MARYLAND CRAB! OH, AND THERE IS THIS THING WE DO DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM WHEN THE “OH SAY…” PART COMES. WE ALL SHOUT OHHHHH! AS LOUD AS WE POSSIBLY CAN! NEVER FORGET THE TIME MARTINA MCBRIDE SANG THE ANTHEM FOR THE PREGAME OF A SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL RAVENS GAME HERE. SHE HAD TO PAUSE! I GUESS NO ONE TOLD HER OF THE TRADITION! NOTHING LIKE 70,000 STRONG BELTING AN OHHHH AND 45,000 AT THE YARD! IT’S ELECTRIC!

I CAN GO ON AND ON ABOUT THE NUMBEROUS TRADITIONS AND LEGENDS ABOUT THIS GREAT CITY WE LIVE, WORK, AND PLAY. I SAY THE ALL THIS TO BRING UP A GREAT POINT HERE. WE ARE ENGROSSED IN A CULTURE HERE IN MARYLAND. HERE IS BALTIMORE. AS A SPORTS FAN HERE, BORN AND RAISED, THERE IS NOTHING BETTER. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL SUMMER SUNDAY AFTERNOON. CHURCH JUST LET OUT. YOU CHANGE INTO YOUR BEST ORANGE AND BLACK AND HEAD DOWN TO THE YARD TO CATCH A MATINEE BALL GAME! THE BEST VIEW IS THE CITY SKYLINE IN THE BACKGROUND AND THE WAREHOUSE ENCASING THE BACKDROP. SWEETEST BALL PARK THERE IS!

LAST YEAR WAS AN AMAZING SEASON FOR THE ORIOLES! PLAYOFFS!!! WHAT?!! PLAYOFFS!!! FINALLY! AFTER ALL THESE YEARS! WOW! SEEING THE YARD PACKED TO CAPACITY AND ALL THE WHITE RALLY TOWELS WAVING! I HAVE VIDEO OF IT AND IT STILL GETS TO ME! TO ENJOY THE FIRST PLAYOFF WIN IN FOREVER WAS A MOMENT FOREVER REMEMERED AND HEARTFELT! TO HAVE MY DAD AND TWO OF MY GREAT FRIENDS ALONG FOR THE RIDE! JUST WOW! TO WATCH TOGETHER IN THE BASEMENT AS WE BEAT TEXAS TO ADVANCE, BRINGS A SWEET SMILE TO MY FACE! BOUGHT THE PLAYOFF TICKETS THE MOMENT WE WON! OH THE MEMORIES!

A SHORT WALK FROM THE YARD AND YOU HIT RAVENSWALK! THIS IS THE BEST EXPERIENCE A FOOTBALL FAN COULD EVER WANT! FOOD, GAMES, BARS, A LIVE BAND, LARGE PROJECTION TVs, AND RAVENS FANS EVERYWHERE! BRINGS AN ATTITUDE TO TAILGATING UNLIKE EVER BEFORE! SPEAKING OF TAILGATING, WE BOAST THE #1 TAILGATE IN THE NFL! BRAGGING RIGHTS AND PROUD TO BE A PART OF IT! GAMEDAY IS WORK DAY! UP AT 6 AM! GEAR UP! IN LOTS BY 8! GAME AT 1! HOME BY 7! FULL DAYS WORK! GOTTA LOVE IT! ALL THAT FOR JUST HOME GAMES, AND I DID NOT EVEN TOUCH ON AWAY GAMES! BEST TIME EVER WAS THE PLAYOFF RUN! THE BAR PACKED WITH PURPLE AND BLACK FAITHFUL! EVERYONE GOING THROUGH THE EMOTIONS OF THE GAME TOGETHER! I GET CHILLS THINKING ABOUT THIS MOMENT. THE MOMENT WHEN I LITERALLY THOUGHT THIS WAS THE END FOR OUR TEAM AND OUR CITY. THEN, IT HAPPENED! A FLING INTO THE COLD DENVER AIR. IT WAS ALL QUIET THERE, BUT HERE; EXHUBERANCE! EXHILARATION! TIED UP! I GET CHOKED UP AS I RECALL MY DAD RAISING HIS HANDS IN THE AIR AND REJOICING! SREAMING! YES!!!! HE CAUGHT IT!!! YEAHHHHH! THAT VERY MOMENT TO ENJOY THAT WITH MY DAD! HE KNEW WE WERE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL! HE KNEW!!!

WHAT THIS ALL COMES DOWN TO IS WE LIVE IN A BLUE COLLAR TOWN WITH PASSION FOR THEIR TEAMS! IT’S ABOUT PURPLE FRIDAYS. IT’S ABOUT THE OH! IT’S ABOUT COMING TOGETHER AS ONE TO ROOT, CHEER, AND ENJOY THE MOMENT. TRADITIONS MAY FADE (RAY LEWIS’ DANCE), BUT WE WILL NEVER FORGET. WE CARRY ON THE LASTING TRADITIONS, WHILE CREATING NEW ONES. IT’S ALL ABOUT A CULTURE, A WAY OF LIFE. I AM PROUD TO SAY I AM FROM BALTIMORE! WOULD I CHOOSE ANOTHER WAY? NEVERMORE!

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