[caw caw]

This week has been one of the busiest I've had in a long time.

Most of the activity revolved around a certain local football team: the Ravens.

When I moved to Baltimore in August 2009 I didn't really have an attachment to a particular professional team. Mostly I cheered for the Steelers because my mom was a huge fan like her father before her. Dad was a self-confessed fair weather fan so his allegiance changed with the seasons. So the Steelers it was. I never really payed attention to the games that were constantly on at home so for years I loved the sound of football more than I loved the game.

Then I moved to Baltimore.

Never in my life have I encountered a city that so fervently loved its football team. During the playoffs there are purple Fridays and everyone in the city wears purple in some form or fashion. Buildings are lit purple as are streetlights. If Baltimore was a living breathing person and you cut her, she'd bleed purple and black.

Baltimore doesn't have a lot going for it. It's the city that inspired The Wire. It's a city still riddled with drugs, crime, and abject poverty. Since moving here I've become skilled at identifying what drugs someone is one from a simple glance. It's a city where gang initiation season has to be taken into consideration and the police refuse to stay in parts of the city for more than 30 minutes at a time.

In the midst of all that, there are a few shining rays of hope.

The Star Spangled Banner was written here. Edgar Allen Poe was from here. The best darn crab cakes in the world are made here.

And then there's that fierce Baltimore pride. The truth is, a Baltimorean's pride could rival a Texan's any day. And as a Texan, that's not something I say lightly. It's a fiercely stubborn and independent city. It's feisty and refuses to back down or change for anyone.

The Ravens are one of the biggest sources of pride. Win or lose, people here love the Ravens. On game day the whole city fills with palpable excitement to watch the team play.

Sunday night the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Kristen, Ryan, and I managed to snag a cab down to Federal Hill, wanting to join in the revelry even if only for 15 minutes. That night, there was an even stronger sense of camaraderie on the streets of Baltimore. People were dancing on rooftops, high fiving strangers. A man on the street was telling everyone that walked up the street that they too were a champion. That night, we were all champions.

Tuesday was the parade and an unofficial city holiday. Kristen and I got to M&T Bank Stadium 3 hours early to stake out seats. The place was already fairly full by the time we got there. All told, 170,000+ people turned out that day. They lined the parade route, filled the field, lined the aisles of the stadium, and took up every single seat. Everywhere you went on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday people were in purple.

During my time here the Ravens have become near and dear to my heart. After I leave Baltimore I will continue to cheer on the Ravens. The team, at least for me, is more than a football team. It's the embodiment of a city's hopes. It's the bonding agent that brings all of a city's residents together.

And so no matter where I live, I'll  proudly sport purple on Fridays.

I've finally found my NFL team.


  1. WHAT! You have abandoned my dear Steelers! Your team and mine are HUGE rivals you realize that? This means war! :)
    Love you despite your purple!

  2. BRING IT ON :). It's not as if I haven't been cheering on the Ravens every time your silly little team thinks it can actually beat mine. I love you too despite your yellow & black!!