THE SPORTS SCENE:

A Great Public Relations Event for the Ravens

by Darrell Carter

In an era in which sports stories off the field have often dominated the game between the lines, it is refreshing to sneak a peek at the latest and perhaps the greatest public relations event yet in Baltimore professional sports.

The Baltimore Ravens strolled into Baltimore eight years ago under the pretense of being lured away from the city of Cleveland. During the team’s eight-year stay in Baltimore, it has developed an organization committed to professionalism and a competitive brand of football on the field. One magnificent public relations move by the Ravens has been to open their training camp in Westminster to the general public, free of charge.

The majority of football fans will not be able to attend games this season due to sellouts and cost. Here’s an opportunity to enjoy a first-hand experience for the entire family that is free and enjoyable. Over 150,000 people visited the Ravens training camp last year. Fans are able to interact with players and coaches and to seek autographs from their favorite players. Food and souvenirs are available. If you can’t make it this year, make a point of it next year.

Here is a look at the many activities made available to families in the grounds that the team has named “Ravenstown.”

Baltimore Ravens Training Camp
The Ravens’ training camp, at McDaniel College, is open through August 19. Admission and parking are free. Featured is "Ravenstown," an interactive area of football drills that adds another dimension to the family atmosphere at training camp. The popular attractions include games such as a punt return, an obstacle course, passing contests, and field goal kicking games.

Even adult members of the family can enjoy any one of the following activities:

Obstacle Course: Contestants will be timed as they make their way through an inflatable football obstacle course.

Quarterback Challenge: Contestants will attempt to throw a football through a target banner, testing their accuracy.

Field Goal Fantasy: Contestants will attempt to kick a football through the uprights of an inflatable goal post.

Speed Toss: Contestants will try their hand at passing a football into a target banner. Throwing speed will be clocked with a radar gun and recorded for later viewing.

The Junior Training Camp: Children will participate in six different drills which will allow them to experience the rigors of NFL training camps.

Quarterback Challenge: Players test their agility by circling cones, jumping over dummies, and throwing the ball to a stationary dummy (the receiver).

Chutes & Ladders: Players run to retrieve a football, hurdle two dummies, tackle another, and maneuver through a zigzag course before throwing the ball back to a coach.

Running, Stumbling, Fumbling: Players sprint towards step-over dummies and run a zigzag path through a course. After the last cone, players run and hop over dummies. The final move is to recover a fumble thrown by a coach.

Receiver Relay: The first person in line will snap the ball to the next participant and jump over a dummy before catching a pass. The person will then run up and around a cone and proceed to the start position to make a hand-off to the next person in line.

Kickoff and Return: Four lines of kickers and receivers line up across from each other. Following the kickoff, the kicker runs down to stop the receiver with a two-hand touch. Once the receiver is touched or scores, the two players switch positions.

Running Back Challenge: Sprint to designated area for five jumping jacks, sit-ups or pushups, and then sprint through the stepladder again and finish with the same.

Directions to the Training Camp from Baltimore: Take Interstate 695 (Baltimore Beltway) to exit 19 and merge onto Interstate 795 North (Northwest Expressway). Continue on 795 until the Interstate ends, and then follow signs to Westminster via Route 140 West. At the blinking traffic light, turn left onto Route 31. At the first traffic light, turn left onto Main Street and proceed up the hill. The entrance to “Ravens’ Visitor Parking” is on the left (look for the two stone pillars). Follow the driveway around Bair Stadium and look for the signs. Parking attendants will greet you.


Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on August 15, 2003.