By Kris Jones, RaveOn24x7.com
Kris is a columnist for RaveOn24x7.com, a leading Baltimore Ravens fan site that features Ravens news and insight from the fans perspective. Kris has been featured on The Jim Rome Show, ProFootballTalk Live, FoxSports.com and more. For more on the Ravens and to read Kris’ columns, visit RaveOn24x7.com.
Fred Creutzer and his daughter Samantha get ready to board the
Fred Creutzer IV from Forest Hill, Md. is a self-described Ravens fanatic.
A season ticket holder, Creutzer’s ideal Sunday is spent watching a Ravens game inside M&T Bank Stadium from his very own purple seat. Creutzer has also adopted a tradition along with a few friends to travel to a Ravens away game each season.
To borrow from the Ravens 2011 credo, it was Creutzer’s relentless approach to playing the Ravens Cash Fantasy scratch-off that gave him an opportunity to attend an extra away game last season; however, this is one he’ll never forget.
Creutzer and his daughter Samantha, a 21-year old student who’s studying to be a medical assistant, were given the opportunity to travel to Cleveland and watch the Ravens play the Browns. This wasn’t any typical road trip though; they were on the team plane and rubbing shoulders with some of their favorite Ravens.
“For me, winning Ravens Cash Fantasy, it wasn’t about the money,” Creutzer said. “I wanted to win that trip, I wanted an experience I couldn’t afford to pay for.”
Creutzer and several other winners from the popular scratch-off game were given an experience that money can’t buy.
“If I have $10,000 in the bank and go to the Ravens and say, ‘I want to fly on that plane’, I can’t do it. The only way I’d get on there is through the lottery,” he said.
The Creutzer’s boarded a charter flight that included live television, the best food money can by like filet mignon, crab cakes and hot wings, and of course were in the presence of some of their gridiron favorites.
“We were like kids,” he said. “I’m 48 years old and to see Ray Rice walking around the plane, you’re like a kid. You’re on a plane with the whole Ravens team!”
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One of the most intriguing parts of the trip was getting a real appreciation of the people under the helmets. One moment stood out in particular for Creutzer as he witnessed safety Bernard Pollard come to the back of the plane and help the stewardesses serve food.
Creutzer appreciated that a player who is known for delivering bone crushing hits has a softer side.
Once they arrived in Cleveland, the lottery winners were placed on one of five buses and received a police escort to the hotel.
“To be part of a motorcade was pretty cool,” said Creutzer.
Within a half-hour of their arrival, linebacker Jameel McClain came down to greet the lucky winners. As everyone was mingling with McClain, Torrey Smith and a few other players stopped to greet the winners, sign autographs, and pose for photos.
Creutzer admitted that he and his daughter hung around the hotel lobby as they waited for any other players to walk by. Luckily for them, general manager Ozzie Newsome, Joe Flacco, and other team members who walked by posed for pictures.
Kickoff for the game was set for 1:00 but moved to 4:05pm due to the NFL’s late season flex scheduling. With a few extra hours on their hands, the Lottery and the Ravens treated the winners to bonus trip – this time to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“It wasn’t part of the program but they added it in the schedule, which was pretty awesome. They picked up the tab and they couldn’t have been any nicer,” Creutzer said.
After leaving one Cleveland landmark and heading to another one at Cleveland Browns Stadium, everyone was met outside and escorted directly down to the field to watch the Ravens warm up for the game.
“For anyone who hasn’t been on the field, it’s a great atmosphere and you can just feel the energy,” Creutzer said. “I’m 6’-4” and 250 pounds but standing next to them and seeing how quick they are, it’s a whole different feeling. They’re amazing athletes.”
Creutzer and his daughter spent the rest of their day cheering on the Ravens to a 20-14 victory over the Browns. After the game, they were given the same treatment they received as they departed Baltimore. The group dined on more delicious food, watched more TV and spoke with players who came to their section of the plane to speak with them.
If there is a single down side to the trip, Creutzer says that it’s ruined all future away game trips he’ll take with his friends.
“I’ll always have a separate appreciation for this when I go away,” he said. “They just made us feel so special. It’ll never be the same as when I’m out there on my own trip, that’s for sure.”
To win an opportunity like Creutzer and his daughter experienced, you have to play the Ravens Cash Fantasy scratch-off from the Maryland Lottery. This season, two separate trip experiences are being awarded and you could join the Ravens as they play in either Kansas City or San Diego.
Head to an authorized Maryland Lottery scratch-off retailer and pick up Ravens Cash Fantasy scratch-offs and enter your 2nd Chance code at mdlottery.com/ravens for your chance to win a trip of a lifetime. The next deadline is Tuesday, September 4th at 9 AM.