Ravens Doing More Than Winning Games For One FanPosted on January 29, 2013
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
The last time the Ravens made a ride this deep into a season, I was deep into things being a member of the Ravens' radio network. I hosted a nightly 7-10 p.m. radio program and was acting sports director for the team's flagship station at the time, 1300 WJFK-AM in Baltimore.
As it is now, with all the nightly radio player shows on 105.7 The Fan, each program must have its band of regular patrons, and some even get chummy with the hosts. And actually, this part of the story began almost as soon as I joined the Ravens' radio network in 1997, as a lot of passionate football fans befriended many of us.
One couple in particular, Dave and Mary Kryglik, seemed to be at each and every stop. They became part of the furniture of all our shows, and they invited me and my then-producer/co-host Paul Mittermeier to become honorary members of Ravens Roost No. 5 in Dundalk.
|Mary Kryglik attends a 2012 Ravens game with her brother Joseph, nephew Joe and niece Anna.|
The friendship even carried over to my wife, Jayne, who was new to Baltimore and came to some of the shows and the Roost events we were invited to. My wife is the real-life equivalent to the requisition officer in the "Dirty Dozen." She could find heat for someone stuck at the North Pole.
In fact, during one of the funniest moments of my entire life, when the Ravens went down to Tampa, Fla., for Super Bowl XXXV, Dave and Mary Kryglik -- with or without tickets -- just had to be down in Tampa to soak up the experience and be part of these Raven maniacs' amazing takeover of Tampa. There was one problem: Although Dave and Mary didn't need tickets to the game, they did need to be within, say, an hour of Raymond James Stadium. That was no easy task, and it was with great disappointment that, when quizzed about their driving down in their Raven Ride, a purple van adorned with the colors and logo of their team, Mary confided to Jayne, "We just can't find a hotel closer than 2.5 hours, so we aren't going to go down."
That's when Jayne pulled out all the stops, and within 30 minutes, she had a room for Dave and Mary -- and at a great price -- just a little more than an hour away from all the festivities. If memory serves me correctly, Tampa is about 1,200 miles away from Baltimore. So, off went Dave and Mary for the thrill of their lives.
I don't remember exactly where Dave and Mary ended up staying in Tampa. Suffice it to say that, upon their arrival at the hotel, when they found out that Jayne had booked them for a room at a nudist camp, they quickly called my wife and had the laugh of their lives.
Jayne and I stayed friendly with Dave and Mary, even when we left to live in Durham, N.C. When we returned to Baltimore seven years ago to start PressBox, Dave, Mary and the entire Roost became friends. It's worked out because of that built-in friendship and that PressBox's football writer, Joe Platania, and I emcee the Ravens Roost parade down in Ocean City.
But, somewhere along the line, the good times stopped rolling for Dave and Mary. On Aug. 17, 2008, Dave was diagnosed with leukemia. There was to be no long, protracted story of Dave fighting heroically against his destiny, so devastating was the disease. Within a month of his diagnosis, Dave was gone.
Dave's passing, after 37 years of marriage, of course left Mary with a huge hole in her life. She attended the Ravens' first home game after Dave's passing, but she hardly remembers a moment of that game. And then an odd thing happened to Mary. Despite all her friends and relatives pushing her to go to games, to watch games, to go to Roost functions, she balked. The love of her life was gone, and being around the love of both of their lives, the Ravens, was much too painful for Mary.
But, as greeting cards will tell you, time does allow for the healing of most things. And with the help of family -- her brother Joseph, her then-bosses-now-friends Nick and Pete Triantafilos of the Costas Inn, and too many others to recite here -- Mary began to put the pieces of her life back together again.
This year, she entered and won a contest 1st Mariner Bank held that asked Ravens fans to send in their most encouraging slogan for Joe Flacco, with the best one being selected for a spot on a 1st Mariner billboard. Mary Kryglik's "It's Your Year Joe, Show Them All" was selected out of hundreds of submissions.
As this magical season took hold, Mary found she was giving herself back over to the game she loved and shared with the man she was married to for 37 years.
This week, Mary and her brother Joseph are down in New Orleans. Again, tickets to the game aren't the thing for Mary. Her ticket is in her heart, and she is back in that game. She isn't letting what's not here now take away from her life.
And, as if things couldn't get any better for Mary, this time around, she was able to find a room where people wear clothes.
Posted Jan. 29, 2013