Four years ago when we started Show Your Soft Side ®, two of the three of us had never seen a football game in our lives. One of us (not me) was into ballet and the other (okay I confess) viewed Sundays as that fabulous day when her husband headed to M&T Bank Stadium and she had the house to herself. That all changed when we met Brendon Ayanbadejo, Art Jones and Torrey Smith, three Ravens who adored their pups and were willing to speak out on behalf of animals everywhere.
Eventually, Brendon retired to California to shake up the fitness world and Art Jones went with the Colts, but Torrey Smith, we hoped and believed, was in Baltimore for life, and obviously wedded to the cause. When Maryland was thrown into turmoil due to an Appeals Court Ruling that all pit bulls “were inherently dangerous,” Torrey was the first one to step up to help fight the injustice. He’s been there when BARCS, our city’s open admission shelter, has been inundated with surrenders and strays, reworked his schedule to be available for our fundraising events, made us part of his marriage proposal to Chanel and their eventual good bye to Baltimore. His involvement with Show Your Soft Side has brought even more NFL players, including the Ravens’ Morgan Cox and Michael Campanaro on board.
Somewhere along the line, we became football fanatics. There is nothing we love better than wearing purple and talking trash on Sundays (Monday or Thursday nights) against teams that don’t have their own animal-loving Softies. Or even worse, teams that have pariahs to anyone who cares about cats and dogs.
Recently, four more Ravens joined our roster – each a star in his own right and each with a four-legged sidekick (in some cases, plural) that means the world to them. Like their teammates before them, Brandon Williams, Jeremy Zuttah, Ryan Jensen and Lawrence Guy have already committed to doing more than just posing for a photo. They’ve been helping behind the scenes on our upcoming fundraiser and plans are in the works for a program that will take their message of compassion into City schools.
No other NFL team has more official Softies than the Ravens. No other team has been more active or vocal in working to change minds and prevent animal abuse. We may be rookies in the world of football fanatics, but that’s what winning looks like in our book. We bleed purple and are damn proud of it.
If you’d like to show your support, put on something purple and join us for our Softie Guest Bartending night at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood on Thursday, October 29. For tickets, visit: http://www.missiontix.com/events/product/31566/