Sunday, February 3, 2013

Raisins Fanatics

On the day of the Super Bowl, it's the right time to talk about some Raisins Fanatics.

I'm talking about my sister and her family and their obsessive devotion to that football team from Baltimore that squares off this evening against the 49ers.

My sister never liked football – or most other sports, for that matter – yet she has been converted into a football fanatic and into a Ravens superfan, as if she had been dunked into the NFL's holy waters. More on that startling transformation in a minute.

First, though, let's talk about the Raisins. That's what Nathaniel calls the Ravens. We've been reluctant to correct him, because it's so cute. Little ones have the darndest ways of pronouncing words. Isaiah, for example, adds a syllable to a certain caped crusader, calling him "Bad A Man." Nathaniel had all sorts of permutations to words. Among a few:

"Chokky milk" = chocolate milk
"Down nairs" = down stairs
"Ubba dubba der" = over there
"Sabati" = Spaghetti
"Orangen" = clementine
"Crumb" = salad crouton (Not a mispronunciation, but a novel descriptive and thus cute nonetheless, at least in our book)

Not to be done, Isaiah and his mispronunciations:
Ughie = Cookie Monster
Auka = Oscar the Grouch
Elmo = OK, he got that one
"Gapa" = Chewbacca (assuming I spelled it correctly)
"Dee Dah" = Yoda
"Orangen" = See Nathaniel, above
"Bum Bum Bad Guy" = Darth Vader (This requires some explaining. "Bum Bum" is the beginning of the Star Wars evil empire song, which both Nathaniel and Isaiah have memorized. "Bad Guy" speaks for itself.)

Back to the Raisins and my sister. You see, Lee Ann barely cared about sports from she was coerced into being a cheerleader for my youth football team in Houston (We were the Oilers. That's the hometown for ya.) through adulthood. But the last few years, long after she and her husband, Rob (who grew up a Detroit Lions fan) and their family moved to Baltimore, she grew this strange attachment to the football team. The Orioles? No. Area college teams? Please. But the Ravens? Oh yeah.

The fandom has grown over time, like kudzu, to where it has invaded every aspect of their lives come football season. A game is not missed on the TV, with the family decked  out in Ray Rice and Ray Lewis jerseys for the occasion. For Christmas, a son saved up enough money to buy a signed, framed picture of Ray Lewis that hangs proudly in the front foyer, I am told. And, in the two weeks leading up to the game, my sister – so dispassionate about athletics for nearly her entire life – has been relentlessly posting pro-Ravens propaganda on to Facebook and Lord knows where else.

Rabid, meet my sister.

I say this mostly tongue in cheek, once I got over the shell shock of her transformation. We all have things that we care deeply about that strikes the next person as a little strange, eccentric or downright kooky. We all have our oddities. I am not casting aspersions. She is my sister, you know. I'm just poking some fun – at her but at myself, too.

For not too long ago, I used to go ape----- over games, especially matchups involving Duke basketball. Ironically, as my passion has waned in light of my changing view that sports is entertainment more than anything else, my sister appears to have gone in the opposite direction with her emotional attachment. Who says we don't change?

Of course, I will watch the Super Bowl this evening. With more than mild interest. After all, it is the Super Bowl. And, I will root for the Ravens, even though they knocked off the Patriots. It's a gritty bunch, and I like gritty, always have. But I have a feeling that my level of interest will nowhere near that of my sister and her bunch.

I just hope their fandom is amply rewarded.


Leeann said...

I feel famous! And yep, we are decked out, food at the ready (two days prep!) and Ravens photos everywhere. Folks arriving at six!

Richard Lewis said...

Congratulations, ma cherie. Your team played well and gutted it out at the end!

Leeann said...

We were all on our feet the last part of the last quarter. And the last 10 minutes my hands were over my eyes. I think at one point I was keening! lol

Nic said...

I cant help but find it interesting that I get the shit for being a Steelers fan (even though we have now lived in PA for 14 years so why not)? Yet you Leeann, also not a native in your current state of residence feel perfectly justified in your Raisin fandom. Whatever. By the way, I did cheer the Raisins on. Sort of. Well, I didn't cheer when the 49ers scored so I think that is equivalent to cheering for them. lol Oh and nice blog Richard. By the way, I have heard lots of stories about you when you two were kids. You might want to have a little talk about your dear sister spreading stories. haha

Leeann said...

Richard, meet Nic. She's a sweetheart. Her bark is way worse than her bite.

Too bad she's a Steelers fan. ;)