Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pivotal Decisions Lie Ahead For Ravens

I have often labeled our city Smaltimore because if you’ve lived here your entire life, there’s a good chance that a stranger on the street shares some personal contact, some friend, some former date or some former teammate with you. In Smaltimore, everyone somehow seems connected to everyone else. Kevin Bacon had Six Degrees of Separation. Had that movie been shot in Baltimore, he may have saved himself three degrees.

Recently I took a little trip to the Bahamas. I’m not much of a book reader. Occasionally I’ll read a Grisham book but most of my in flight reading is somehow connected to sports, music or Maxim magazine. This time was different.

In my backpack that serves as my usual travel companion, I found a book that was recommended to me a while back yet somehow managed to hide for months in one of the too many pocket in that backpack, thus escaping my notice until last Thursday. The book was written by Mitch Albom and is entitled “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”

It’s a rather short read which is perfectly suited to my toddler-like attention span. I won’t go into it other than to say that I recommend it, it gives you pause to consider your five people that you might meet while combining aspects of Smaltimore, Six Degrees and the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life.

I pondered the choices that I’ve made when confronted with those proverbial forks in life’s road. Some are seemingly inconsequential when chosen yet they often have rippling effects, both good and bad.

This weekend, some NFL teams will make choices that will affect many, many lives. An average player on the right team could develop and have a long and rewarding career. A superior athlete caught in the wrong set of circumstances could end up a bust.

Think about some of the cause and effect situations that have involved the Ravens:

What if they had selected Lawrence Phillips instead of Jonathan Ogden? Would Phillips be serving time or might he be a Ring of Honor candidate and if so, perhaps Jamal Lewis never becomes a Raven. Might the Ravens have taken Walter Jones in 1997 instead of Peter Boulware if Ogden wasn’t a Raven?

This “what if” questioning could go on endlessly.

The picks this weekend will one day inspire similar what if questions.

We’ve all made pivotal decisions. We’ve probably all made pivotal decisions we regret. But none are under the microscope here in Smaltimore like those decisions made by Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta.

Let’s hope there are no regrets…


TalkinWillis said...

"Smaltimore"...I like that...and very appropriate. Just don't get too close, they might start calling in West Virginia East!

Ravens have 8 picks this draft. My guess is that only 5 will make the team. They'll get one UDFA that will stick.