9.07.2003

 
Baltimore Ravens rookie quarterback Kyle Boller gets the start today against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I never liked the Ravens much. Even though I generally disdain New York sports teams, I found myself pulling for the Giants against the Ravens in the Super Bowl a few years ago because of my dislike for the Ravens. Something about their arrogance and the fact that they turned Trent Dilfer into a Super Bowl MVP has always rubbed me the wrong way.

And yet I find myself hoping the Ravens do well this year with Kyle Boller at the helm. You always pull for the people who come from your home town, I suppose.

Kyle, by way of UC Berkeley, reaches the NFL from my high school in Southern California. Though I am two years his senior, we attended school at the same time. His (extremely good-looking with the finest legs one can imagine) sister and I had about 70% of our classes together, and I would say she and I were on friendly terms, most likely because she belonged to the hot and popular click and I had a talent for helping people with their questions in class. I knew Kyle, though not well, and I imagine he would have no clue who I was if I ever had the opportunity to re-introduce myself. And for the record, Kyle is ridiculously good looking (I think the Hose Mistress has formed a little crush on him), nice, charming, affable, and generally the kind of person that dorks in high school like me wanted to hate but couldn't ever bring themselves to actually dislike.

I find myself really pulling for the kid to succeed this year. I remember the fact that Kyle NEVER PLAYED QUARTERBACK before his senior year in high school. Repeat: never. He played safety his junior year, and the story goes that sometime during the summer between the two years, one of the coaches saw Kyle throwing the ball around and decided to turn him into a quarterback. Kyle only went on to throw 59 touchdowns to 3 interceptions that year, the second highest TD pass total in California high school history, and lead the school to another Southern Section CIF title, its third in four years. People who witnessed still marvel at the pass Kyle completed against the school's arch-rival that traveled 73 yards in the air. This from a kid playing his first year as a quarterback.

He started for four straight years at Berkeley for mediocre teams, and never really garnered any attention until his senior year. But ever year his displayed impressive arm strength and toughness in the pocket, and for those of us who paid attention, we did not experience any surprise at seeing the Ravens draft Kyle this year with their first round pick. And personally speaking, it does not surprise me at all that he won the starting QB job on the Ravens this year as a rookie.

Our high school has produced five straight quarterbacks that have gone on to play Division I NCAA football. And Kyle is clearly the best of the group, the one with the natural talent who will be playing quarterback in the NFL in only his fifth year playing that position. Ever. At any level.

So good luck Kyle. I hope you do well. And I guess that means I hope the Ravens do well too.