Get a piece of Ravens history!
Remember how excited we were to watch the Ravens defeat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans? The turf under Ray Lewis, T-Sizzle, Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Ray Rice, Jacoby Jones, Matt Birk and Joe Flacco is now available to Ravens fans for the holiday gift-giving season. You can get a piece of history in any size that you want by ordering it on Facebook!
How did this all happen? And, why are you seeing it in I95 BUSINESS? It’s one of those special stories confirming that it’s a small world, after all.
After graduating from University of Kentucky, I moved to New York to work for a magazine. I lived in Manhattan for several years and met people from all over the country. Friends Dennis and Annie LaRock made a life there, staying long after I left, raising two children. We stayed in touch through the years, and visited now and then when time allowed. Once their living space lost all light and air because of new towers that bricked up their windows, they decided to move to New Orleans. They signed an agreement to leave their fabulous, rent-stabilized Flower District loft, in which they had lived in for 25 years, and four days later, the hurricane hit New Orleans. They decided to move in spite of the chaos and have created a great, new life there.
Fast forward to last spring. Annie is now the executive director of a new non-profit, the New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation (NORD Foundation). Mark Nicholls of UBU Sports, Inc., the company that supplies the Superdome’s artificial turf, decided to donate the Super Bowl turf to the NORD Foundation to install in one of the city’s football stadiums that was still in post-Katrina condition. She decided to use the remnants from the installation as a fund-raising mechanism to raise funds for all playgrounds, pools and afterschool programs in the City of New Orleans. She thought Baltimore would be the place to market it, and she only knew one person in Baltimore.
We talked about a lot of things. She contacted the team, of course, with little luck. The Super Bowl-winning Ravens were scattered across the country, and the team was picked apart by the salary cap. So last summer, Annie called me again.
Most of the turf from the Superdome was installed in a football stadium in the low-income neighborhood of Hollygrove, which held its opening earlier this summer. The remainder is still warehoused in New Orleans. Annie was able to get some much needed assistance to help spearhead this project from Tulane University through their internship program. It turns out the A.B. Freeman School of Business senior was from Cockeysville, lived in the Greencroft community, literally across the street from close friends, and the triple play – he knew both my kids. Spencer Schulz is a graduate of Park School ’10, lives in New Orleans with two other local boys from St. Paul’s School, and is working to make the project a success by contacting other Baltimore connections to move the turf. Small world.
Specialty sports vendors love to package turf to sell to fans. It is often a one-inch-by-one-inch piece of green turf, glued to a plaque with a fake brass plate for documentation. NORD is taking a completely different approach, allowing fans to create their own piece of memorabilia. The turf is “raw,” neither mounted nor shrink-wrapped, so pieces can be ordered in any size desired, and then paired with your own tickets or photos and framed to create a personal memento of the Ravens’ spectacular run to Super Bowl XLVII Champions.
Prices start with plain green at $25 per square foot, and move up to turf with purple for $40 per square foot. You can also order green with hash marks in white or yellow, or 49ers red. For example, a 2-foot by 3-foot doormat in purple would be $240 or $150 in green. Order a rug for your office or home or an even larger piece to carpet your Ravens Den. You’ll have to contact NORD for information about the larger pieces. Whatever size is acquired through this donation process, 50 percent is tax-deductible, and shipping is extra. Start your search on facebook.com/baltimoreturf or search “Baltimore turf” on eBay.
Each piece of turf is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity signed by the Mark Nicholls, president of UBU Sports, Inc., and by the Executive Director of the NORD Foundation, Anne K. LaRock. I95