Less than a decade ago, Kingsville resident Charlotte Krause didn't know a thing about football.
"I cheered when everyone else cheered and booed when everyone else booed," she said. Then "I went to a preseason game in 2004 and had a chance to learn about the game. I've been hooked ever since."
Now Krause, 55, serves as president of the Council of Baltimore Ravens Roosts. The organization oversees more than 50 fan clubs in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
"I watch the Ravens at the stadium or [on] TV, and my throat is hoarse," said Krause, who works in service dispatch for Spigler Petroleum Equipment in Westminster. "I have a sign in my office that says 'woman cave.' I have bobbleheads of Ray Rice, Ray Lewis, Michael Oher, Anquan Boldin, Haloti Ngata and Sam Koch. I'm big on the Ravens."
Krause likes to think that some of those Ravens players recognize her because, "I'm a hugger. They might not know my name, but how many fans come over and ask the players for a hug?"
We caught up with Krause in the lead-up to Saturday's playoff game in Denver against the Broncos, to talk about the Council of Baltimore Ravens Roosts and her experiences with the players.
When did you join the council, and how long have you held the position as president?
I've been president of the council since September. I've been president of the Perry Hall roost for about six years. I got into it seven years ago as a member. Then I got involved in more activities, became vice president of my roost and later president of my roost.
As involved as the council is in supporting the Ravens, you're equally involved in supporting charities.
We support the Red Cross, Ray Lewis Foundation, Casey Cares, the Babe Ruth/Sports Legends Museum, Maryland Zoo and some others. This year we donated to the Brigance Brigade Foundation. Volunteering is a big part of what we do.
My mother, brother and sister-in-law have tickets, so I go with them. There's nothing like being at M&T Bank Stadium.
Which players did you get to meet during the charity events?
The last two years, my mom and I volunteered at Ray Lewis' Summer Days charity. All the volunteers were invited to his house for a cookout. I met Ray Rice, Torrey Smith and [Carolina Panthers quarterback] Cam Newton.
I also had a chance to meet [tight ends] Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson a few years ago at a dinner hosted by Todd Heap.
Every year the council gives an award to an unsung hero. This year we picked [kicker] Justin Tucker. We go down on the field before the last home game and present the award to the player. This year, the team invited us to a practice the following Friday, so I got to watch the players there, and that was a great experience.