The Baltimore Ravens were out in full force in the community on Tuesday (9/22), working with kids as young as four and senior citizens 25 times that age.
Derrick Mason's "Greatest Hits"
Mark your calendar for 2028, that's when Derrick Mason's debut CD will drop. Mason announced his impending album in jest after serenading the guests of Springhouse Assisted Living Facility. Continuing his karaoke tour, Mason made 2009's first stop memorable belting out tunes from Michael Jackson and The Temptations.
Tackle Joe Reitz joined the sing-a-long, demonstrating the skills he learned as a bass in his middle school choir. Reitz's rendition of "My Girl" (accompanied by the Ravens' own Andi Goodwin) got the crowd on their feet, dancing and singing along. Reitz also channeled Frank Sinatra while singing "New York, New York."
The crowd got a preview of what an all-Ravens' boy band might sound like when Mason and Reitz teamed up to sing "YMCA." The two-hour "concert" was a memorable event for the residents at Springhouse and a great way to start this year's karaoke tour.
Sharing "Heap"s of Sunshine
Tight end Todd Heap battles against tough opponents each gameday. Tuesday's adversary was no different. This time instead of challenging a rival on the gridiron, Heap* *took some time to combat a different type of foe: cancer. Like many people, Heap has been personally affected by the disease and on Tuesday, he spent some time visiting with patients at a local hospital in conjunction with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
The hallways were filled with shouts of "Heap" as the Ravens TE brought smiles to many patients' faces by listening to their stories and signing autographs. For many of the folks Heap talked to, his visit served as a temporary diversion in their grueling fight.
Heap's visit demonstrated the therapeutic power of a handshake, the importance of having an open ear and the ability one person has to help share some sunshine. Heap also spent some time visiting with staff and learned about the latest technological developments in the effort to find a cure for cancer.
Whether you call the sport football or "fútbol Americano," the skills and drills that make up the fundamentals of the game remain the same. Close to 100 Hispanic youth put their football talents to the test and learned from some of the Ravens' best.
Linebackers Brendon Ayanbadejo and Antwan Barnes* *joined running back Ray Rice in sharing their favorite sport with local youngsters at Tuesday's football clinic celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Clinic participants got a taste of running, passing and catching and still had time to get autographs from some of their favorite Ravens. The pint-sized future NFLers were guided through a series of drills aimed at introducing the game during the hour-long clinic.
As part of Play 60, the NFL's movement for an active generation, the football clinic featured some fun exercises that got all of the participants moving. Members of the Lady Ravens Association, a group of cheerleaders and Poe were all on hand to help make the event a huge success.
Whether it was their first time handling a football or an opportunity to improve their fundamentals, everyone looked like "todo estrellas" (All-Stars) and had a great time.
"Play" Like a Raven
Fullback Le'Ron McClain brought a new meaning to the 2009 Ravens' slogan as he joined over 300 youth at the KaBOOM! Day of Play at Night. The carnival style atmosphere featured games, face painting and ethnic food in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
McClain joined the fun, hosting the relay races and joining a team. Watch out Shaq, next year's show might become "Le'Ron vs." as McClain challenged Laurel Elementary School's principal to a race. In an attempt to even the playing field, McClain ran his leg backwards – but his team still managed to win the race. The FB spent some time signing autographs for the group as well.
As the spokesperson for KaBOOM!, McClain will be instrumental in awarding grants to organizations that host Play Days. The evening's event was a great way to way to cap an eventful day for the 2-0 Ravens squad.