I’ve said this many times in the past year, but the greatest decision of my nineteen years was going to college in Baltimore.
Of course I’m from Maryland and the Baltimore area, but for the longest time I thought I wanted to go far away for college. Well, long story short, after much debate, looking around, college visits, and summer programs, I decided that the right choice for me would be to stay in Baltimore for college. Then I fell in love with Loyola, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I could seriously talk ALL day about what makes Baltimore such a unique, fun, and interesting city, and why it will always be the place I call home. The funky wall murals, ethnic restaurants, and distinctive neighborhoods are all snapshots of this great city and are sure to be part of my future blog posts.
Today, though, I share with you my love for a Baltimore tradition: baseball. Specifically, the Orioles. We’ve never been the statistically greatest team in the MLB, or even near the top of the American League East, but I grew up with a passion for the Orioles instilled in me, and learned at a very young age to say: “How bout dem O’s, hon!”
My parents used to have season tickets, and I was at a game with my mom when I was around seven years old when Cal Ripken, Jr., broke the record for home runs in a single season. When I’m home and there’s an O’s game on TV, no matter what time of day it is or where they’re playing, you can bet my family will be watching it.
So when I came to college and made new friends, most of whom are not from Maryland, it was really cool for me to see so many of them opening themselves up to this Baltimore tradition, even those who were not really baseball fans at all. I have friends from the New York area who will root for the O’s (though maybe not so much right now…), and even friends from Boston (like my roommate) who will do so as well.
It was easy enough for me, a Baltimore native, to continue to love my O’s, but to see my classmates cultivate an interest in and supportive attitude toward our hometown birds was to make me proud of my classmates, and my city. In a small way, my classmates are taking an interest in and role in the city they will call home for four years.
I’d be lying though if I said that the very successful season the O’s have had this year didn’t invigorate me to be a tad bit more of an O’s fan than I normally am. It’s true that I grew up around the O’s, but I’ve always been more of an [absolutely crazy] Ravens fanatic (more on that later…). This year has made me really appreciate what the O’s do for our city.
I’ve been to two games this season, one in May on my last night at school with a group of friends, after completing our final exams, and one last Friday night with my roommate Meagan!
Let me just say: there is no greater Baltimore experience than going to an O’s game. From the “Ooooo” everyone shouts during the National Anthem to the tradition of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” during the seventh inning stretch, an game at Camden Yards ensures a true Charm City afternoon or evening. Plus the new video of the Bird doing “Gangnam Style” when we score a homerun is delightful.
This is the third O’s game Meggy and I have gone to together; it’s prime roommate bonding time. We love $6 upper reserve student tickets on Friday nights, ballpark hotdogs, and big ice cream cones. We even love parking out in the county (just kidding) when we don’t take the bus down. If we wouldn’t have parked so far away, though, we never would have randomly met the band All Time Low on the way into the stadium on Friday!
The Orioles, of course, won on Friday and all weekend long, wrapping up our last home series of the year and securing our first winning season in fourteen years! It’s quite an exciting time to be an O’s fan, a Baltimorean, and a student in Baltimore. Rounding out our Friday evening with some post-game fireworks wasn’t bad either.
So maybe we’re not the Yankees with 27 pennants, or the Red Sox with an inspiring history and backstory. But love for our Baltimore Orioles is something that bonds our city together and makes me forever proud to be a Baltimorean, born and bred.