I became a Raven because of a kind of glory hunting on Madden 2002. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV and were champions when the game was released. The default kickoff game – the one you ended up with if you just started a quick game – was the previous Super Bowl, with the reigning champions being the home team.
At the age of six, navigating your way around a whole game is an effort so you simply take what’s given to you. I played as the Ravens, against the 2001 Giants. Now, to be clear, I was dreadful at Madden 2002 and had absolutely no idea what was going on but I had fun in the way that only a child can when they are doing everything wrong.
When I finally picked the sport back up, seven years later at secondary school, people asked who my team was. The answer was easy: those boys in purple, who I grew up using in Madden.
I became a real Ravens fan in 2009, when I started watching games. I followed the regular season in 2010 and, since 2011, I have watched every game I could (legally and less legally). I’ve barely missed one since.
I always found my reason for becoming a Ravens fan funny but a little awkward and embarrassing so whenever anyone asked me why I supported the Ravens, I would tell them that I have family in Baltimore. That is actually true, though we don’t really talk so I’m stretching the truth a little. Still, it sounded a lot more legitimate than the truth: I used them in a video game years ago.
Now, over 15 years since that first Madden game, I will finally see my Ravens live in the flesh in London, my home city. It feels like an honour for me personally and I intend to make the most of the whole week. I wonder whether, once I get that first taste, I will feel inclined to follow the Ravens back across the Pond to see them again? Only time will tell…