First-year Renegades at home with adversity

September 24, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

When Randy Brunner was trying to come up with a nickname for Baltimore's newest semipro football team, he considered several options before settling on Renegades.

"I thought about calling us the Baltimore Orphans because we were abandoned and nobody wanted us," said Brunner, who coached the Dundalk-based Baltimore Bears for four years before the team folded after last season. "We had 70 ballplayers, a coach and nowhere to play."

Instead of looking for a new team to join, the players pooled their money and came up with the $1,500 needed to cover the Mason-Dixon Football League entry fees and jerseys.

"Everybody on the team pitched in," said Brunner, who is the Renegades' coach and general manager. "We all put our heads and hearts together and said, 'We can do this.' That made me feel good because it could have been just as easy for these people to pack up and go play somewhere else, but they didn't, they stayed together."

And collectively met more obstacles.

The Renegades' first problem was finding a home field. After contacting what he believed to be all the necessary personnel, ++ Brunner expected to play his five home games at Kirk Field in Baltimore. However, less than two weeks before their scheduled home opener with Arbutus, the Renegades were told they would not have access to Kirk because Baltimore's CFL franchise was using it.

Brunner made a call to Bob Wade, the director of the Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation, who put him in contact with Patterson High athletic director Roger Wrenn. Brunner said Wrenn "went out of his way" to provide the Renegades with a temporary home field for today's 2 p.m. game against Chambersburg, Pa., and their Oct. 1 meeting with the Arbutus Big Red.

"Patterson High is our savior and Roger Wrenn has been our patron saint," said Brunner, whose team has secured Utz Field in Patterson Park for its final three home games. "I'm not harboring any hard feelings against the city, but I'm still a little ticked off at the way it came down."

Just when Brunner and his charges thought they were free from any more distractions, a rugby team showed up at the Renegades' practice one evening at Druid Hill Park, claiming it had a permit to use the field. After some juggling of schedules, the two teams have worked out a rotation.

Now, four games into their inaugural season, the Renegades are and finally able to focus their full attention on the season at hand.

"We have a chance to win a championship and this is a rare opportunity for many of these guys," Brunner said.

"We have a lot of guys looking to stay out of trouble and they want to play ball to channel their energy in a positive direction."

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