I Guess You Could Say I’m A Ravens Fan

The most important names on Monday mornings are Lewis, Flacco, Rice and Smith.

By

Thursday, January 31, 2013

As a native of New York City and an alumna of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I’ve seen my fair share of die-hard sports fans. On any given day in New York, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a person walking down the street sporting a Yankees fitted cap, a Mets t-shirt, or a Carmelo Anthony Knicks jersey. I even own a “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” Nets t-shirt. I spent most of my undergraduate career seeing others in Carolina blue, whether at a basketball game, a house party or in class.

But none of my experiences in New York or Chapel Hill braced me for “Purple Fridays” at my school, aka the capital of Ravens Nation. I had never witnessed such loyalty and devotion to a sports team within a community, until I started teaching here in Baltimore City. On any given Purple Friday, I see kids in all grades, from Pre-Kindergarten through eight, sporting a Ravens jersey, hoodie, t-shirt, or a purple accessory (like a bead necklace or bracelet) to display their support for their hometown team. At my school, the most important names on Monday mornings are Lewis, Flacco, Rice and Smith.

 

A shot of a black and white poster of a football team with white text reading "play like a raven."

 

Photo courtesy of Olubunmi Fashusi

Outside of the school gymnasium is a “Play Like a Raven” poster that I pass by multiple times each day. It wasn’t until the day after the Ravens beat the New England Patriots to secure a spot in this year’s Super Bowl that I thought deeply about that poster and what it could mean for my students, our school, our school community, and the city of Baltimore.

What I love about the Ravens’ journey to the Super Bowl this year is their “underdog” story. In Baltimore, a city in which 40% of students fail to graduate from high school and fewer than one in six will graduate from college, children live a real-life “underdog” story every day.

When I think about how inspiring it will be for the Ravens to win the Super Bowl, and for the “Play Like a Ravens” poster to foster inspiration in the lives of all the Ravens fans at my school, I can’t help but root for them. I am originally a New York Giants fan (if by “fan” you mean I wait until they make the last round of the playoffs to start watching games, pretend I’ve been watching all season long, and then argue with everyone else that I am their number one fan). But this coming Sunday, I will be sporting something purple and cheering loudly for the Baltimore Ravens. It is my hope that their underdog story will end in the same way I hope the underdog stories of many students in Baltimore, mine included, will end - triumphantly!

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