"Holy Toledo!"

July 2, 2007

Bitten By The Bug

Filed under: Baseball, NFL — Bill @ 6:40 pm

Do you remember the first time you realized that you loved football? Or the day you couldn’t wait for the newspaper to arrive so you could read the baseball boxscores? Recently a friend of mine was bitten by the NFL bug. Watching her grow as a fan has been almost like reliving the experience myself.

Being “bitten by the bug” is an experience that comes in many many forms. For some it may be the first time you heard Frank Sinatra sing. For others is could be seeing Tiger Woods hit a golf ball, or Reggie hitting one off the roof at Tiger Stadium. One thing is certain, when you get bitten you know it almost instantly.

I can recall as if it was yesterday the first time I saw Dwight Bale fire up that nitro powered hemi & thunder down the liquid quarter mile in his top fuel hydro named “Conquest.” The sight & sound was something I can’t even begin to accurately describe, but it was almost better than sex.

When I was first bitten by football it was Bill King and George Blanda that gave me the bug. “Pride & Poise” meant nothing to me, for all I knew it sounded like the title of Burt Lancaster’s latest war movie.

Equally as enjoyable as “being bitten” is seeing someone else go through it. Through their exuberance you get to relive the joy & excitement of discovering a new sport.

What advise do you give someone who has recently caught the bug? Study the game & it’s rules, naturally, but most importantly study the history. The history is what gives you perspective and a better understanding of the joy (and heartbreak) this sport provides.

In my friend’s case the history of her team, the Baltimore Ravens, only dates back to 1995. However the city of Baltimore is loaded with football history. Just ask Bert Jones, Lydell Mitchell, or Don Shula. The legends of Johnny Unitas, Weeb Ewbank, & Raymond Berry can teach you volumes about the great game. I also seem to recall something significant about a guy named Alan Ameche.

It wasn’t until I met Ralph Tyko that I began to understand the history of baseball. Oh I thought I knew it, but soon I realized how little I knew.

He taught me the names & stories that I find myself telling other young fans still to this day. As they sit and listen with eyes wide open I begin to understand how Ralph felt. The old veteran loves passing on the history as much as the rookie enjoys hearing it for the first time.

Being “bitten by the bug” is a right of passage for each and every sports fan. We all remember when we were bitten, but we had no idea how many highs and lows this adventure would bring.

Enjoy the ride Kathy, you will love it.




  1. Thanks for the nice woids, Billy Boy. Over the years we’ve learned from each other.

    Comment by Ralph Zig Tyko — July 2, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

  2. Love to read your thoughts about football, Bill. I definitely have caught the bug! I can’t help myself… I gotta say it: GO RAVENS!

    Comment by Kathy — July 4, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

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