I had the pleasure of fulfilling one of my son’s wishes this past weekend and can tell you, there is no greater thrill than seeing one of your child’s dreams come true.
From the moment my oldest was born, he was smothered in a love for football. By the time he was about 1-year-old, he was imitating me and my husband watching the game. When the Ravens scored, we would cheer "touchdown!"
My son would then pull himself up on his wobbly legs, throw his arms in the air and yell, "tata" so proudly. I knew I had a die-hard, lifelong Ravens fan.
Every time we drive past Ravens stadium or he sees someone wearing a Ravens logo, he talks about the team—he is always so happy to see fellow fans. In fact, he very much approves of restaurants sporting the familiar bird logo—"Mom, they’re Ravens fans," he says.
He repeatedly talks about the heartbreaking loss to the Steelers back in January, but how happy he was that the Packers won the Super Bowl. I am always impressed by his memory of these games, especially how he remembers so many details that I had long forgotten.
This past weekend, the Ravens hosted a stadium practice and I had the opportunity to take my son to see the stadium for himself. After convincing him to wear his Todd Heap jersey—he's been begging for me for a new one—we headed to the stadium. The whole way there, he was adamant that we wouldn’t sit next to any Steelers fans. Just Ravens fans, I promised.
The event was truly geared toward fans and families. Kids were bright-eyed and everyone seemed happy to catch a glimpse of their favorite players in full uniform on the field.
I watched my son as he stood in amazement, when he took in the size of Ravens stadium and the sea of purple fans. This is certainly something you cannot fathom just from watching it on TV, especially if you're only three and a half feet tall.
From the moment we got there, he started taking mental notes. I know this because he recounted every second to me on the way home, as if I had slept through the entire thing. And although he cannot pinpoint his favorite part, for me, it was when walked around the stadium and scored front row seats just a few feet from the end zone. This gave us a close-up view of just how big the players are and how fast Flacco can through the ball. And when Billy Cundiff kicked the ball through the uprights, I could barely keep him in his seat!
I especially enjoyed the fact that it was almost a completely free event! Free parking, admission and even free activities, including face painting, caricatures, autograph signings and cheerleader greetings. There was even a bouncy house and a host of sponsors giving away goodies.
It looked as though everyone was enjoying themselves. Kids were happy and excited to be at the stadium and fans seemed happy the lockout is behind us and football will be played as scheduled.
I look forward to the day that we take him to an actual game. But until then, I think the memory of this special day will live with him throughout this season.