Women And The Ravens
Written By Linda L. Esterson
Photographed By Jim Burger
The Boys are back in town and it’s time to pull out the jerseys, change the batteries in the remote and pull out the flags, banners, beads and all the purple you can find.
Some women hear the word kickoff and run as fast as they can for the nearest shopping mall. Others lead the charge in decorating the house in purple and preparing a menu for a house of fans or for a tailgating party.
A Day Off
Melanie Porter understands the excitement that fills the area come Sundays in September.
“I think it’s wonderful to let loose ... I always encourage my husband to enjoy and have fun,” she says.
Each season, her husband Jason shares the schedule with his wife. Eleven years later, he still asks if she’d like to join him for any game.
“Every year I tell him not to waste his money on me because I won’t be fun,” she jokes. “I tell him he’ll have such a better time with his friends.” Once, she was convinced and they brought the entire family to a pre-season game. “I didn’t enjoy the game but had a great time with my daughter watching the cheerleaders looking so good.”
Porter marks her calendar with the dates of home games — so she knows when Jason will be gone for the afternoon — and she marks the dates when he is hosting the viewing party at their home and when he is scheduled to watch elsewhere.
“Therefore, there are no surprises when my husband tells me he can’t do Hebrew school carpool or birthday parties for our kids,” she says, about driving her daughter Avery, 9, and son Merrick, 6. On the Sundays Jason hosts his friends, he and Merrick wake up pumped, put on their jerseys, turn the television to ESPN Sports Center, and order pizzas and wings. She and Avery contemplate what their day will bring.
Once she knows the schedule, she can head for the door. Where does she go? Anywhere else! She stays out long enough to be sure all guests are gone and the house is all clean again before she returns. Most Sundays, she goes to the gym, catches up on errands for the coming week, does the food shopping, gets a manicure or spends time with her daughter, mother, or sister, shopping and going to lunch.
“I don’t think I ever wondered, “What can I do today?’ ” she says.
Jill Alperstein is Porter’s complete opposite.
Alperstein, 39, considers herself a “diehard” fan. But it wasn’t always that way.
Her father and husband Joel held two season tickets to the Baltimore Ravens and spent Sundays together at games. She joined in the excitement during the 2000 season when the Ravens won the Super Bowl and they bought a third ticket. “That season got me hooked,” she says.
She’s so hooked that she follows other games, enjoys watching tryouts at training camp and even attends the Ravens women’s events at M&T Bank Stadium.
Today, she admits, the best part of her weekends is going to games. They awaken early and get dressed — she has a purple Ray Rice jersey — and get decked out in all purple .Depending on the weather, she’s even been found in purple Converse tennis shoes. When it’s colder, she adds a Ravens coat, Ravens ski hat (she has a baseball cap for the warmer days), Ravens socks and Ravens gloves. She’s even purchased the new Nike Free running shoes in purple and black. During the playoffs, every day is “Purple Friday.”
On game day, they leave their Reisterstown home by 10 a.m. Daughters Ellye and Remy have their jerseys on and have play dates while their parents are gone. The trio head downtown, hitting three different tailgate parties. But they’re always in their seats for the excitement of the player introductions. They sit in the upper deck and have considered moving closer to the field, but they enjoy the company of the fans they’ve been with for the past 11 years.
When the Ravens play out of town, the Alpersteins have a tailgate party at their house. Alperstein has the equipment — Ravens plates, tablecloths and “every bobblehead you can think of.” She even made a tablecloth out of Astroturf during the team’s Super Bowl run. They also have decorative helmets and footballs acquired through charity auctions, and of course the cars have Ravens license plates and magnets.
For Alperstein, Ravens season is a priority. Their plans happen after and around games. Birthday parties and vacations are arranged to happen after games.
“I get annoyed when people plan things during football season,” she says.