Tag Archive | "Brigance Brigade"

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Chapter 5: A Ravens family that loves its Juice and never quits…

Posted on 16 January 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

 

“Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. And I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for…”

– Lou Gerhig (July 4th, 1939)

 

 

IF YOU VISIT THE BALTIMORE RAVENS’ facility in Owings Mills, it’s virtually impossible to miss the office of O.J. Brigance. His office door is always open, and it’s in the main foyer hallway, the most traveled area in the building for any employee or visitor. If you want to eat or go to the bathroom at the Under Armour Performance Center, he’s almost like a toll stop. You have to stop or at least slow down and acknowledge him.

It’s hard to know what the many young, incoming Ravens players or staff employees first think when they enter their new workplace and pass the office of Brigance, who sits in a very complex wheelchair-like device in front of a communication device called a Dynavox, which faces toward the door.

There are more than a handful of bonds that link the two Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl championship teams beyond Ray Lewis, but none more spiritual than the journey of O.J Brigance over the 12 years between confetti celebrations that demonstrate just how much lives can change, transform and, in some cases, deteriorate.

O.J. Brigance was No. 57 on the Super Bowl XXXV champions in 2001, the special teams captain who made the first tackle of the game on that beautiful night in Tampa. He was also the starting middle linebacker on the Baltimore Stallions Canadian Football League Grey Cup championship team of 1995. He’s the only man with a ring from both league’s championship teams from the same city.

And now, at 43, he sits motionless, all except for the flicker of his warm, bright eyes that allow him to communicate with the world around him via this amazing communication device that has kept his virtual world untouched despite his body betraying him, slowly disintegrating in front of everyone.

He gave his body to football all of his adult life. Now that same body, once a perfect physique honed by Brigance’s incredible drive, determination, and work ethic in the gym, has withered away. His spirit however remains transcendent for all who are in his presence.

He first felt the symptoms during a racquetball game in 2007 at the Ravens facility. From the time the franchise moved from Cleveland to Baltimore, beginning at the dumpy old facility on Owings Mills Boulevard about three miles away from the castle-like palace in the woods off Deer Park Road, the exhausting window wall game has been a staple for coaches, scouts, and various office personnel to blow off steam, get in a sweat and compete with each other for the “King of The Court” title. Racquetball, not cornhole, is the original, game of choice in Owings Mills. Brigance, a regular in the rotation in a building full of pretty fit athletes and former athletes, noticed some weakness in his right shoulder, his strength and range of motion were slowly changing so he sought out a neurologist. He was an athlete. He knew his body, and he knew something was wrong.

After a battery of tests, he and his wife Chanda were given the stunning diagnosis: O.J. had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

A.L.S. is a motor neuron disease, first described in 1869 by the noted French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. It occurs rarely and spontaneously. To date, except in strongly genetic forms of the disease, the cause of ALS is not completely understood. The last decade has brought a wealth of new scientific understanding, but how it starts in the body is still unclear.

Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and outside of the United States as Motor Neuron Disease (MND) or Charcot’s Disease, it is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain (upper motor neurons) and spinal cord (lower motor neurons) and affects muscle function. The motor neurons control the movement of various voluntary

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Glenn’s Drew’s Morning Dish: We’re off to a great start. Keep it up.

Posted on 15 August 2014 by Glenn Clark

Glenn’s Drew’s Morning Dish is brought to you by Koons Baltimore Ford BECAUSE I SAY IT IS.

We had an awesome Thursday on “The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” with our Adam Jones Appreciation Day events. The highlight of Thursday was (unquestionably) this moment, when Justin from Owings Mills’ two year old Desmond came in studio at 1550 Hart Rd. to pie me after his parents donated $50 to the ALS Association as part of our modified #IceBucketChallenge.

It was awesome all around. Desmond is a huge Adam Jones fan-while I’m a huge fan of both doing good for the community AND pie. We call that a “double win”, or maybe even-this might sound crazy-a “win win” if you might.

But we were just getting started. We want to raise much more money Friday (and throughout the next week) for the Brigance Brigade-in honor of Baltimore’s favorite son O.J. Brigance and his continued fight against ALS.

Our guy Steve from Dundalk has already committed to coming by the studio Friday morning to donate at least $50 in order to pie Morning Show regular Luke Jones. That’s awesome. Our pal Simon Habtemariam is going to stop by and let me pie him because I’m going to make a cash donation myself. That’s awesome as well. Dan from Overlea is in for $50 himself and he doesn’t want to pie anyone. He just wants me to piss off Drew Forrester by replacing “Fridays With The Boss” with “Fridays With The Fab Four”. Done. And awesome for sure.

But I’m willing to get pied again if you’re willing to pony up the dough…and the filling.

If anyone else wants to stop by 1550 Hart Rd. in Towson between 6-10am, I’ll let them hit me with the pie of their choice. (The chocolate meringue Desmond went with Thursday was actually quite tasty.) You have to make a donation of AT LEAST $50 (checks made out to “Brigance Brigade” this time) to plant the confection on my face. It’s the perfect combination of showing off your Orioles support (via the pie), your Ravens support (by donating to the Brigance Brigade) and just doing good for those who need it. It seems to me like it’s even more beneficial than just dumping a cold bucket of water on your head on a summer day.

But wait-there’s more!

You might be familiar with our resident “rock star”, Zack Merrick from the band All Time Low. He’s been a part of our last few coat drives at WNST and as a Baltimore County resident himself, he’s ALWAYS been the guy to step up to the plate and ask me what he can do. There are few people who love our community and want to help more than Zack.

So Zack (who also happens to be a pretty big O’s fan) has offered to get pied as many as TWENTY times in the next week to help raise up to a thousand dollars for the Brigance Brigade.

Whoa.

Here’s the scoop. We’re looking for $500 worth of donations from All Time Low fans who want to deliver a pie to this good-looking face.

So…either one All Time Low fan can donate $500 to pie Zack, two can donate $250, five can donate $100, ten can donate $50 or TWENTY can donate $25. That’s the minimum donation to plant a pie in Zach’s face. We’re going to do the Pie Throw next Friday afternoon, so keep your schedule clear after 3pm to be in Towson for the event (I’m thinking 3:14 because, you know, pie).

Zack is going to match the total donated up to $500. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that means that if YOU ALL commit to donating $500 and he matches it-that’s a $1,000 donation to the Brigance Brigade and their fight against ALS-which is ABSOLUTELY more helpful than ice.

So let’s get to it, Charm City. Make your commitment. Either stop by with your pie on Friday morning to hit me in the face or let us know (via glenn@wnst.net) that you’re in for next Friday afternoon and let us know how much you’ll be donating to slap Zach with a pie.

Life is pretty damn good in Baltimore right now. Let’s keep making it better for everyone.

-G

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