Sports are a huge part of Ryan’s life. From an early age, he was on a Challenger League baseball team and his younger brother and friends were buddies who helped the players run from base to base and to field balls. Believing in inclusion in all things, Ryan had an inclusion companion in a Howard County Recreation and Parks baseball camp when he was 12. When a popup was coming down on his head in the outfield and Ryan was looking the other way and waving, we realized that safety was more important than the principle and Ryan became a Super Fan. Ryan earned a letter at River Hill High School for being the JV Baseball team manager when he was there. He also sat on the bench at his brother Matt’s games from elementary school through Matt’s college career and interacted with the umpires, sometimes a little too loudly. Getting the umpires’ signature in his scorebook was the highlight of his day. When Matt was a senior at Mount Saint Joseph High School he was pitching in the MIAA finals at Ripken Stadium. We were all engrossed in the game and lost Ryan. Another parent pointed and the whole team looked over to find Ryan talking to Cal Ripken about his brother, who was standing on the mound staring. Cal invited Ryan to play in his next golf tournament; that’s how great Cal Ripken is!
After high school, professional sports Super Fanship beckoned.
Through his work of selling beverages, my husband Phil has provided Ryan with many opportunities to attend professional sports games. Ryan loves the Capitals hockey team, the O’s where he is known by the ushers and even some players and coaches due to his annual FanFest pilgrimage, and of course, the Ravens. Once at Ray Lewis’ annual charity event where Phil brought Ryan as his plus one, Ryan eluded all the protection around Ray and ended up sitting at Ray’s table and talking to his hero. Each year Snapple has a fan appreciation day at a Ravens game and Ryan has gone down on the field for the kick off, where he has waved at Ray as though they are good friends. Every time Ray dances, whether he’s there in person or watching TV, Ryan’s whole body is covered in goose bumps from head to toe. Thinking of the Ravens as his team, Ryan has asked and been granted some time in the press box where he answered some questions about his love for the Ravens.
This football season has been a dream for Ryan. He calls his aunt and uncle in Cincinnati and trash talks when the Ravens and Bengals play. He starts the trash talking with the Boston cousins during pre-season and ended the last game where the Patriots were ousted with a loud phone call of triumph (or was it taunting?). Sunday will find Ryan sitting with our group that can’t watch anywhere else because when we’re together we keep winning. He will have his own special mojo that we hope will propel our Ravens to victory. For Ryan(and I’m sure many others) it’ll be like Christmas morning.