I'm from Baltimore originally. (Excuse me – “Balmur”.) Unfortunately, my team left Baltimore too. They moved to Indianapolis. So, I have a choice: Cheer for Baltimore or cheer for the Colts. One's in the Super Bowl. The other isn't.
I don't like the Colts. Our respective departures were vastly different. I left Baltimore to fight for my nation. They stole away in the night, taking Baltimore's football trophies with them, much like the Clintons tried to exit the White House with the silverware and china. Neither the Clintons nor the Colts are a class act, at least not as evinced on those occasions.
I like the Ravens, but I'm afraid to root for them. I'm a jinx. Seriously. A genuine jinx. Let me explain.
I left Baltimore in 1966 to join the Army. The Colts had won a few championships while I lived there by virtue of the fact that I never attended any of their games. Football wasn't the great sport then that it is today. Baseball was America's pastime and I rooted for the Orioles. They never won a game, at least, not while I was watching. No, not one. They also never rose from the cellar – the bottom of the league standings.
I see you. You're Googling it, aren't you? Yes, Baltimore won the World Series in 1966. Why? I wasn't there to jinx them. I was an Officer Candidate at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, at the time. I asked one of my classmates if he had heard who was playing in the World Series. We didn't have much time to follow sports while attending Infantry School. He told me Baltimore won it. I laughed. He didn't. He was serious. That's when I began to suspect that I was a jinx. Not only did the Orioles win the World Series, but also they won it in four consecutive games against the dominant Los Angeles Dodgers.
During the intervening years, after serving a tour of duty in Vietnam, I lived in Hawaii and then Colorado. There weren't any professional sports teams in Hawaii for me to hobble, and when the Broncos arrived in Denver, I was encouraged to leave the state. (They must have heard something.) I moved to Los Angeles.
I never saw the Dodgers or the Rams win a game. Oh, they won quite a few, but not while I was watching. Not from the stands or on television or radio. I had the same effect on the Lakers. They lost the one game that I was allowed to attend. My nephew and I arrived late. The Lakers were ahead. My nephew found our seats while I picked up some hot dogs and drinks. He watched me as I approached our seats. The Laker's lead evaporated with every step I took towards him. His eyes never left me.
My nephew played sports. He even played some college basketball. His mother was under strict orders. I was not even supposed to know when he was playing. Attend one of his games? Out of the question.
So, that brings me to Super Bowl XLVII. Do you want to know who I'm going to cheer for? Better yet, do you want to know who I'm betting on?
It'll cost you.