Asking me why I'm a Baltimore Ravens fan is about the same as asking why I'm breathing. Forces collided, nature took its course and here I am.
But why am I a Ravens fan you ask? Well, here's my testimony.
First, there is the genetics. I was born in Westminster, Md., out in rural, or at least what was rural, Carroll County. Westminster is about 15 miles outside of Baltimore and my mother and her family grew up there. Even though I grew up on the Eastern Shore, a love of all things Baltimore is sort of in the DNA.
I'm a Ravens fan because, to me, being a Ravens fan is unique. This is not a team du jour, like our PA rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. D-list celebs do not jump on our bandwagon.
I'm a Ravens fan because being a Ravens fan is a commitment. After all, this is not exactly a club that moves the national Q rating. The Ravens started off as America's Most Hated team because they were the Cleveland Browns. The face of our franchise, Ray Lewis, was once indicted for double murder.
The Ravens have never had a sexy offense, other than in 1996 when they had no defense. They play in Baltimore, a city which has become a national punching bag for its murder rate. You have to want to be a Ravens fan.
I'm a Ravens fan because the Ravens do not have gimmicks. There are no towels being waved here. No, we Ravens fans wear purple camouflage pants. Now that's commitment.
I'm a Ravens fan because we are not presumptuous enough to use the word "nation" to describe us. Ravens fans are a cult, an Illuminati-like underground society that weeds out bandwagon-hoppers in a hurry. Ravens fans are not everywhere in America. And you know what, we like it that way. It makes being a Ravens fan a special experience.
I'm a Ravens fan because no matter what our rivals may say about us, they can never say that we've never won the Big One.
I'm a Ravens fan because they help me forget how bad the Orioles have been for the last decade-plus.
I'm a Ravens fan because of: Ray Lewis's pregame dance, Michael McCrary's motor, Terrell Suggs's sack dances, Ed Reed's big plays, Jonathan Ogden's effortless playing style, Matt Stover pointing to the sky after every kick, Shannon Sharpe and Tony Siragusa's trash talk, Sam Adams's first step, Brian Billick's arrogance, Joe Flacco's arm, Bart Scott's soul-crushing hit on Ben Roethlisberger in 2006 and Derrick Mason's professionalism.
I'm a Ravens fan because they're MY team.