How appropriate that Joe Flacco is going to Disney World, the place where dreams come true!
Hate to say I told you so. Actually…. no I don’t!! If you read my last blog from Friday, (“Too Blessed to be Stressed”), I confidently predicted the Ravens victory in the Super Bowl, based on something that was way bigger than what happened on the field: daring to dream.
Dream realized. And it was BIG. Not just the game, but the opportunity to watch it with my girls. Just us. To be able to share that moment with Debbie, Sophie and Emily, just the four of us. The chance to embrace all three as the clock hit :00 and then watch as Sophie cried tears of joy over our Ravens becoming Super Bowl champs. I had the chance to go to New Orleans, albeit with a single ticket, but didn’t want to miss this moment with my family. The players will tell you straight up, it doesn’t happen that often, it might not happen again, (we certainly hope that’s not true), and its so hard to get to that mountain top. Sharing that “moment” with those closest to my heart meant everything.
But back to the game… and games for that matter. Three different post-season games, all with the same predictions by most football experts. The Ravens would lose. From Denver, to New England to New Orleans. Yes, they’re “experts” alright, reading the stats and looking at the plays, the coaches, the players on paper and on video and trying to see how past actions predict future events. Problem is, unless you are immersed in the story of “your” team and “your” city, you can’t possibly understand. I said it. Dare to dream big, have the vision, develop a plan to make it happen, overcome adversity, obstacles and everyone else who is telling you there is no way you can pull it off. But if you find a way to stay focused on that singular goal, embrace the vision in your heart and grind it out… that’s right, true grit, that’s when something special happens, because the stars align, the universe opens up and miracles are possible.
There was never a doubt. Even when the lights went out. Even when momentum shifted so hard it seemed like an unstoppable train was going to run right over the Ravens and crush their hopes and ruin Ray’s last ride. How fitting it all ended with a goal-line stand by the defense of a team that Ray has lead for more than a decade and a half. The players may have changed, but the message always the same, don’t give in and never, ever, ever give up. How many times do professional athletes get to go out their way? Ray Lewis and a higher power wouldn’t have it any other way.
And talk about purpose and sacrifice, and overcoming adversity. O.J. Brigance, the team’s inspiration during so many recent seasons said it best, “in life there is purpose wrapped up in pain”. He would know, he’s hanging on with all he’s got. So many Ravens this year, found a way to fight through what seem to be unbelievable odds: death, injuries, controversy, the whispers and even the loud proclamations of being told you are just not good enough. Especially the quarterback. To coin a legendary baseball phrase from many years ago, “Say it ain’t so Joe”. Joe said it loud and clear, for all the world to see. MVP of the Super Bowl. As ESPN anchor Stuart Scott loves to say, Flacco “was as cool as the other side of the pillow”.
And as I wrap it up, and it ain’t easy to wrap a story like this… what a year to be a Baltimore sports fan. From the miracle the Orioles launched in April and their return to the playoffs after a 15-year drought, to Michael Phelps incredible performance in London, becoming the most decorated Olympic Athlete of all time , to the Ravens making the dream playoff run a reality and getting Ray his Super Bowl ring. If you still don’t think Charm City is special, its time to check your ‘Hon card at the door.
See ya in Disney World, ‘hon.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.