Sunday, November 12, 2006

Week 10 – Steak and Cake

11/12/06 – Nashville, TN.


I have no clue what that means, but in the home of country music, it's gospel. And it also happens to be a perfect way to explain our victory against the Titans because I have no clue how it happened.

For those of you who read last week's entry, you are well aware that this blogger is a Yankee. Maryland seems to live in a gray area between the North and South, but New Jersey sits squarely above the Mason-Dixon line. As a result, country music could be sung in Swedish and I wouldn't know the difference. But there is another aspect of southern culture that I’m happy to take comfort in - big 'ol steaks.

When I told my Dad we were headed to Nashville, he suggested a steak house for Lauryn and I to try. But he couldn't remember the exact name. He thought it was along the lines of 'The Ranch'. Lucky for us, his clue led us down the right path and up 2nd Avenue to the appropriately named, 'The Stockyard'. That was some good eatin’ right ther (read that last line with an overly stereotypical southern accent and it sounds really cool). The menu featured 9 lb lobsters and 37 oz rib eye's. I felt like John Candy in the Great Outdoors. Maybe I could get my name up on the wall, right between the ‘Aging Meat’ sign and a commemorative Reba McIntyre record. Eventually we both settled on filet mignon. As Lauryn tried to say, "When in Tennessee, do as Tennesseans do." So I did as I ordered my steak with some sort of cheese on top. Cheese on filet mignon! I love the South.

The Nashville night reminded us that we were a long way from home. Johnny Cash covers, cowboy hats, southern belles and some Badonkadonk. Still no clue, but it flows nicely, right? I didn't know the words to any of the songs anyway, but I did catch myself toe tapping with one hand on my belt buckle. Why does that happen?

On to the game. As I mentioned, it was hard to explain. First and foremost, it was the return of Steve McNair to his former stomping grounds. In a very classy move, the Titans played a short video tribute to #9 before the game. But I don't think the crowd wanted to see him go. A woman commented to us on the elevator in a not-so-subtle-but-very-sarcastic tone, "So you have our little quarterback now, don't ya." I thought, ‘Um, yes, I suppose we do ma'am, but he is 6' 2" and doesn't know who I am.’ I decided just to nod in appreciation. It sure was nice to have their little Stevie on our side.

As we were wiring this week’s featured Raven, Mark Clayton, some emergency surgery was needed on the microphone. As a result, his pads were left alone on top of one of our cases while the surgeons - Don and Jeff - went to work on the mic. Then someone asked me for something in the case. I would have to pick up the pads. Of course they are practically indestructible and made to handle the impact of flying linebackers, but I was worried they might fall apart in my hands. Well Clayton ended up catching 7 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown so I think my handling may have actually helped. I was very careful with them. I swear.

The game appeared over before we really got started. Interceptions, a safety, a few personal fouls and at least three injured Ravens taken to the locker room before halftime. One of the fallen was Musa Smith who had to be taken off the field on a cart. We picked up his voice on Clayton’s microphone saying, “I can't feel my legs". It made you wonder how there wasn't a serious injury on every play in the NFL. Fortunately he was back on the sidelines by the end of the game.

Meanwhile, Vince Young, who is so much taller in person than I was lead to believe - led the Titans to a 26-7 lead midway through the 2nd quarter. However, there was still a lot of game left and the Ravens had some Badonkadonk left in them. See how versatile that word can be when you don't know what it means.

The final score for Baltimore came on a touchdown pass from McNair to Derrick Mason. The play was meaningful on so many levels. First, it gave the Ravens the lead for the first time since the first quarter. Second, it marked a memorable homecoming for both players who gained fame together in Tennessee. And third, and either the most or least important reason depending on who you talk to; I have both players on my fantasy team. The touchdown counts double for Canton FC (my fantasy football team name) and my enthusiasm got the best of me as I pumped my fist and showed off the 12 inch vertical once again.

The game still wasn’t over. The Titans had a field goal try to win the game. Lauryn couldn't look. Luckily Trevor Pryce was watching and blocked the kick. More fist pumping. Clayton held his helmet high. Bart Scott gave a few fans some high fives. I caught a glimpse of the out-of-town scores and yelled back at Larry, San Diego just scored again! McNair took a knee and all of a sudden we were 7-2 with a three game lead in the division.

The celebration continued on the bus and back on the plane as the sun set on Nashville. We were leaving the Music City and all the Badonkadonk it had to offer. Fortunately, our chartered jet had a little more in store. After a screening of Talladega Nights on the way down, we were able to focus on the food on the way back. A few players whipped up some cobbler; we were treated to chicken and rice, and a little something special in honor of the men in purple. Another great weekend in the books, and on the blog. Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. would say it best:

Steak. And. Cake. Steak and cake!

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