In 1958, the Baltimore Colts played the New York Giants in New York and won the game in what was called Sudden Death. My then boyfriend went to see that game on a bus with the Colts Corral, a group of devoted Colts fans. We had been going together for one year and he told me he was not seeing me that weekend, because he was going to see a ball game. I told Mom and my friend Thelma, what kind of young man would not want to see a girlfriend and would rather go to a football game. Well, he never stops talking about it and I am thankful that I ‘let’ him go. It was a wonderful experience and a game of a lifetime.
When the Colts were taken from us and went to Indianapolis, he said that he would probably never again see a hometown game ever. Then Art Modell brought to us the Ravens and we are going into the seventeenth year; we have a team to be so proud of. Today, that wonderful man passed on and we owe him a great debt for bringing football back to us sixteen years ago. My husband was wrong and the fans here are marvelous patrons of this team and rightly so. The Modells, Art and Patricia were also benefactors of many charities we know about and many that we do not know about. They gave of their money to various groups and were patrons of the arts.
Patricia Breslin played on a soap opera I watched in the sixties called General Hospital and she also starred on many other shows. They said she appeared in those days on so many other shows and was dubbed as being the actress who played on more shows than any other one until Lucille Ball beat her record. She married Art Modell and they celebrated about forty-two years of marriage before her death at age eighty last year. Their two sons and six grandchildren survive him now.
He did so much for the game of football, that it is hard to sum it up. He made Monday night football into a big success and it was his idea. They gave money to the Lyric and it bears their names. They gave money to start a school called The Seed and the new building is going up now. They had a young student who said on TV tonight, that if it wasn’t for the Modells and their contributions, because where he came from in his underprivileged area, and now he is in this school, he would have fallen along the way. Now he is in all advanced placement studies and he has a bright future ahead of him. Art had to drop out of school when he was fifteen because his dad died. He loved football and surely showed his expertise in business and in philanthropy.
I wrote in a short note on my Facebook, that Art Modell should be in all of our Hall of Fame hearts for what he did for Baltimore City, Baltimore County and all of Maryland, letting us have our love of football ignited once again in 1996. I remember the headlines that day in 1996 when it was announced we would have this team and then again when the Ravens name was chosen. The whole community was rejuvenated and football was home again to us, the people who had lost it so many years ago.
We all wear purple on Fridays, even the doctors, bankers, pharmacists, kids, teachers and everyone around to celebrate our beloved Ravens. I am seventy-eight and have never been to a football game, but I love the Ravens and last year I bought a Ravens leather jacket and will wear it proudly when the weather turns a bit cooler. On Fridays, I wear a purple or lavender blouse or skirt and purple bows on my shoes. I use to have a purple and white kitchen way back in 1965 and it was very hard to find purple ornaments, curtains or table cloths then. Now purple is a popular color especially in Baltimore and even lavender and purple eye shadow is worn a lot on Fridays and when the Ravens are playing.
Art will lie in state I guess you can call it, on Saturday September eighth, down at the football field. If I did not have these darn old aching knees and I could walk better, I would be there to see the man who has given us such love, happiness, sports, fun and lots to talk about during the football season. Yes, I am an old lady who loves football and I am still trying to understand the complexity of the game and I have to keep on asking my husband questions on it. However, maybe by the end of this winning season, I will really understand it all. I do know that I love this purple clad group of men, the game and pay great honor and thanks to Art Modell for giving that to us. To the former actress and soap opera star in memory and her children, I say thank you too for being a part of our loving football family. You all became our family too when you moved to Baltimore and not only gave us our team, but gave us your charitable contributions to lots of endeavors here in Maryland.
You are already in our Hall Of Fame, Art, and it could be our Hall Of Fame Of Our Hearts. You will be there and you will be number one forever and we will never forget you-ever. Happy Purple Days and may you rest in peace and know that we will always feel your presence, whenever and wherever the Ravens play football.