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Would you bring an infant to a professional football game?

I lead with this question because it is one that had me thinking throughout much of the Ravens/Dolphins game yesterday, which I was lucky enough to attend.  I’ll tell you what…mull that one over a bit and I’ll come back to it a little later.

It was a perfect day for football yesterday in Baltimore with temps in the 50’s and a slight breeze, but the sun made it feel warmer than that inside the stadium.  My buddy Jeff and I got the tickets through his work and they included a pre-game party in one of the tents outside the stadium so we headed down to the game a couple of hours early to partake in the free food and beer.  While shamelessly devouring the spread of ribs, crab cakes, and various other dishes, we were visited by several of the Ravens’ cheerleaders.  They posed for a picture with a young girl who was there with her father.  I briefly contemplated sneaking into the shot but seeing as I was an invited guest, didn’t want to get Jeff into any trouble.  I’m sure he didn’t want to be the guy who brought “that guy” to the game.  So after thoroughly taking advantage of the food and booze, we made our way to our seats; field level, about 17 rows up in the corner of the end zone. 

The seats were great!  You can tell from the picture below where I am rather pathetically trying to seem cool.  I think I look more like that creepy 3rd cousin you see at family reunions who goes around giving everyone inappropriately long hugs.  Point is…the seats were good.  As people were pouring into the stands, a few rows in front of us is where I witnessed an interesting sight.  This is where my opening question comes into play.

A man, probably late 20’s early 30’s, dressed head to toe in Miami Dolphins apparel, made his way to his seat.  Strapped to his chest was one of those baby carriers with what appeared to be an infant of no more than 6 months, dressed entirely in Ravens gear.  Picture the sports fan version of baby Carlos from The Hangover.  My initial reaction was of amusement and confusion.  Here you have a grown man who has chosen to come to a Ravens game dressed in the opposing team’s colors.  With him is an infant who has no choice but to wear whatever his father dresses him in, and yet he is sporting the home team’s colors.  Very bizarre situation. 

As the game began and the Ravens took an early lead, the Dolphins’ fan was berated with taunts and jeers, typical behavior for a football game.  As the game wore on and the Ravens victory seemed assured, the taunts increased leading the Miami fan to yell back, “Hey, I got a kid here, settle down!”  Here are some actual comments I heard from the Ravens’ fans:

“Go back to Miami!  Your kid can stay though!”

“You suck!  But we love your kid!”

And my personal favorite:

“Carlos, Carlos, Carlos!”

There were some others that were a little too inappropriate to write here so I won’t completely condone the behavior of the fans, but it led me to asking my opening question.  Why would you bring an infant to a football game?  You know you are going to be heckled, you know you are going to have obscenities thrown your way.  It’s even possible that some food product may come flying in your direction (while I don’t support throwing food, what do you expect from drunk, rowdy football fans?).  In my opinion, if you’re going to willingly expose yourself to a verbal beatdown by dressing in the opposing team’s colors, leave the baby at home!

Well, the game ended just as I thought it would, with a Ravens victory.  Things don’t get much easier for the Purple and Black as they have to travel to Atlanta for a Thursday night game this week with little rest in between.  At the very least, however, the Ravens will arrive in Atlanta with a share of the lead in the AFC north and potentially the lead outright depending on the game between the Steelers and Bengals tonight.  I’ll be rooting for Cincinnati as I’m sure all Ravens’ fans will. 

As far as my 30 before 30 goes, today, my birthday, marks the official start of the countdown to the big 3-0!  By attending yesterday’s game, I was able to cross one part of one item off my list.  Not a bad way to get this thing rolling.  Still taking suggestions for the final 3 spots on the list.  Also, my begging and pleading continues as I ask all of you, my loyal readers, to spread the word about my journey and the list.  Thanks as always for reading and we’ll talk again soon.

Trying to be cool at the game...but not succeeding