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Arbutus Ravens Roost ready for AFC Championship

In light of the Ravens' double-overtime playoff win over Denver Jan. 11, Ravens Roost 97 in Arbutus is gearing up for another week of celebration.

Jim McCain, president of Roost 97, said he can't wait to watch the Jan. 20 game against the New England Patriots from the Roost's home bar, Center Court on Selma Avenue at Sulphur Spring Road.

"(We're) just kind of enjoying this ride really," McCain said the day after the 38-35 victory. "It's exciting to see these guys playing the way they're playing.

"To see these guys in the AFC Championship against the Patriots again this year, it's exciting," he added about the rematch of last year's title game.

McCain said the roost will hold its traditional potluck at the local bar Sunday night, in addition to tailgating in the parking lot in the afternoon.

Janice Semanick, a Roost 97 member, said that one of her favorite things about the roost is the feeling of camaraderie the members share during games.

"It's pretty much like a whole other family," Semanick said.

Semanick said she will be at Center Court on Sunday to cheer her team and is beaming with pride at the Ravens' performance this season.

"I want them to win all the time. I love our team. They have a lot of heart and I feel like they're proving it to everybody who doesn't stand by us," Semanick said.

Another member, Bruce Strange, said he enjoys being able to watch and experience the drama of football with such good friends.

"A bunch of us will get down there and jump around," he said of the regular Center Court gatherings. "I don't know if we can take any more games like this last one. That was exhausting."

McCain said the Roost members are not only looking forward to Sunday's game, but already beginning to plan a potential trip to New Orleans should the Ravens advance to the Super Bowl.

"You don't get there that often, to the Super Bowl," McCain said. "Depending on what the outcome is, there is a possibility that some of us will travel down."

While McCain, Semanick and Strange all love the sense of community the group offers, they all agree that the most important part of being in a Ravens Roost is the charity fundraising and donations the group organizes.

"We pride ourselves in being more of a charity organization," Strange said.

He said that the emphasis on giving back is what draws most members to join.

"That's primarily why they're part of the roost," Strange said. "You don't have to be part of a roost to root for the Ravens."

Semanick said that when the roost first started it was "just a bunch of friends enjoying the Ravens and watching the games together."

"As the meetings went on, and I started learning more about what the Ravens Roost could actually do, it wasn't just about getting together for the games," Semanick said. "We're really involved with charities and giving back to the community."

In addition to participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Maryland Special Olympics and donating to organizations such as the Arbutus-based Casey Cares Foundation, Roost 97 also hosts local fundraisers and sponsors service projects at Ronald McDonald House.

Anyone can join a Ravens Roost and the members of Roost 97 invite those interested to join their celebration at Center Court on Sunday.

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