Ravens ManiaPosted: January 12, 2009
The family that roots together, stays together. I’m not sure if statistics bear this out but it seems to work for the ravenous Ravens fans in the Schenck household. I don’t actually mean we’re hungry — “ravenous” just seemed like good alliteration.
The Ravens are the one sports team we all agree upon. Despite my best efforts, moving to New York when they were three and one turned my infidel children into Yankee fans. The Orioles welcome mat my mother gave me for Christmas this year? They turned it over and told me to get it out of the house. So it now sits in front of my office door at church. A few parishioners have threatened to withdraw their pledges if I don’t remove it.
But when it comes to football we’re a sight to behold. The last two weekends the Ravens have won playoff games — against Miami and Tennessee. And we’ve been stretched out on the couch wearing lots of purple. Bryna in her Ravens fleece, me in my Ray Lewis jersey, and the boys in their Steve McNair shirts. What can I say? McNair’s retired and we haven’t been willing to pony up the $80 (each) for Joe Flacco jerseys they’ll outgrow in a few months.
The boys’ love of the Ravens was sealed when we had the opportunity to visit the Ravens practice facility a few years ago. A well-connected parishioner who does legal work for the NFL Players Association set this up and it waas amazing. We got to attend a closed practice — Ben and Zack were the only kids there — and they loaded up on autographs after the team was done. I’ll never forget watching players standing on line to sign for them. I even got to shake hands with former coach Brian Billick and tight end Todd Heap. Ben and Zack got high fives from Ed Reed. I still haven’t washed my hand.
Then there’s Bryna who has also become a huge Ravens fan. Much of this has to do with her obsession with kicker Matt Stover (who had the game-winning kick against the Titans). She’s smitten. You’ve never seen someone get as excited over the kicking of an extra point.
But it’s been a lot of fun and a great ride this year. With a rookie quarterback, a first-year head coach, and a 5-11 record last year they were picked to finish in last place in their division. But here we are heading to the AFC Championship game next weekend against our archrival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s also been stressful. Bryna’s not sure she can take next week’s game against the Steelers. At times, Zack has to leave the room he gets so nervous. I’m emotionally drained after each tension-filled game. But we’ll be in front of the TV next Sunday night. I’ll even be wearing my now lucky Ravens socks.