Ray Lewis & friends reach out in a genuine way

As Baltimore Ravens’ fans, we like to beat our chests about how well this organization operates. We use lots of evidence to back that up. Sometimes, we really reach in trying to prove that point, but that’s why we’re fans. We go overboard with emotion, and we have that right.

I use that as an opening, just in case my latest entry is perceived as a fan going overboard and not a professional given in depth analysis. I will admit I’m capable of doing both.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of participating in Ray Lewis Summer Days events. The events began on Thursday and concluded on Saturday night. All of the events were first-class.

I’m not going to big-time you by telling you about each event, I want to give credit to the athletes who were a part of the events.

I’ve been to many of events such as Ray’s. Some have been associated with the Ravens’ players, and many have been the work of athletes from other teams. The difference is not whether you have to pay for the event, or if the food and drinks are free or anything like that. The difference is how the athletes conduct themselves during the events.

No, I’ve never been to a function like this and had to rush out for my life. That’s not what I’m saying here. But I have been to events like this and wondered why fans put up with anti-social professional athletes.

Ray Lewis Summer Days was the polar opposite of everything I’ve come to expect in the attitudes of athletes. There were several athletes from the Ravens and Washington Redskins, and they treated the fans like they were important. There wasn’t a VIP section or anything of the sorts. The athletes were mingling, signing autographs, and talking to fans. In fact, on Thursday, I spent the entire evening watching the NBA Finals game one with Derrick Mason. The only football we talked about was his shoulder which he assured me was fine. The rest of the time we spent talking about our mutual admiration for the Los Angeles Lakers. I knew I liked Derrick Mason.

Baltimore’s Rudy Gay was there, and he was every bit of the social butterfly that the football players were. Sam Cassell graced us with his presence, literally.

This was all the brain child of Ray Lewis. If Ray were stuck up and wanted to segregate the athletes, it would have happened. The atmosphere was not conducive to athletes who didn’t want to embrace an adoring fan base. They all signed tons of autographs and no money exchanged hands. Not one dime.

It was refreshing to see in a time where professional athletes are perceived to be spoiled people who cannot connect with the average fan.

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