Coming from Connecticut, we don’t have much when it comes to our own sports teams. Obviously there’s UCONN, and the Connecticut Sun, but having dominant college and WNBA teams alone isn’t exactly the way to get your state’s athletics well known (no offense to colleges or the WNBA). We had an NHL team, but I was 6 when they ditched us. Those who hail from the Constitution State are split, caught directly in the middle of New York and Boston. Our fans are dedicated, for sure, but are often found explaining why they support one city or the other.
Now, granted, I am not a huge sports fan. If the Yankees lose, I care, but I won’t be devastated. But one of the nice things about Baltimore is that the ‘locals’ most certainly do care. They care a lot. Living in a city that really isn’t divided certainly brings a different aspect to sports. You won’t see New Haven going crazy over an NFL game (Yale vs. Harvard, maybe), but here in Baltimore you most certainly did.
After the Raven’s victory over the Patriots in the AFC Championship, the city went nuts. From the comfort of my living room, several blocks from any bars or central gathering areas, we could hear fireworks going off in the streets and shouting in celebration. That’s when we all realized…win or lose, after the Superbowl, this city was going insane.
Obviously, this was an entirely new experience for me. Not only was I finally able to to go bars downtown (yes, I’m newly 21), but I could go to bars downtown when they would be full of excited Baltimore fans. After gathering a group of Hopkins friends and joining with another friend from Baltimore, we went to a popular spot across the street from Camden Yards. The place looked like a Ray Lewis jersey factory where a purple paint bucket exploded onto every other article of clothing.
With every play, the bar erupted in either applause and celebration or a symphony of boos. Showing my Baltimore pride, I ordered a delicious crab and old bay pretzel and some Natty Boh, to be enjoyed surrounded by the excitement of the game. There have been a few pretty nervous moments in my life, but I have to say the last few minutes--unsure if this mob around me was going to end up being a happy mob or a very upset one--was pretty nerve racking.
In the end, obviously, it ended up being a happy crowd. People flooded the streets, including a guy dancing in a full body Natty Boh guy costume, and some news crews. All around us people were playing the “fist to car horn” game, and they were winning. Part of me wanted to see a car get flipped over, but part of me was afraid to see what would happen if cars began being flipped. In the end, we were able to make it back to my non-flipped car and back to campus safely, while joining in with some of the celebrations on the street on the way (I high fived a guy next to us at a red light by reaching out of the car window, it was pretty epic).
And there you have it: the thoughts of someone who had never been in a championship winning city being in one for the very first time, and the once in a lifetime experience that came with it.
Thanks for reading,
Current Track: The Next Episode by Dr. Dre
P.s. If you want a video of what parts of downtown looked like, this one does a pretty good job of it: