Son's every Ravens game front and center for Flynns

SETTING THE SCENE

Setting the scene

Ravens 27 Browns 17

Ravens Gameday

December 18, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun Reporter

Whenever Mike Flynn walks into the open air of a football stadium, the Ravens center can count on two things: another day at the office and the sight of his parents.

Michael and Kathleen Flynn have attended every game of their son's NFL career since he was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted rookie in 1997. Neither weather nor illness nor canceled flights has prevented the Flynns from keeping alive that streak, which continued with yesterday's AFC North matchup between the Ravens and Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium.

"We've planned our lives to going to Mike's games," said Michael Flynn, 64, who tailgated with some friends in Lot G a few hours before kickoff. "We don't let anything interrupt our going to his games."

The Flynns' loving support of their son began when they signed up Mike in youth athletic leagues featuring basketball, soccer, football and baseball to avoid bad influences. What they saw at those games planted the seeds for their decision to attend all of their son's contests.

"We saw so many kids that were what we called drop-offs," Michael Flynn recalled. "Their fathers would drop them off for a game or practice and their mothers would pick them up afterwards. Sometimes, we would give them rides because they didn't have one."

Added Kathleen Flynn, 63: "I've never had anybody pick Michael up or drop him off. That was my job."

So throughout Mike's playing days at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass., the University of Maine and the Ravens, the Flynns hit the road to watch their son's games.

While the Flynns drove to most of the collegiate games (the trip to James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va., from Agawam, Mass., took nine hours), they have had to fly to the NFL venues.

To make it work, Michael Flynn saves all of his vacation days at a commercial mowing equipment distribution center for the NFL season, and Kathleen Flynn works part-time at a deli.

Obstacles that bother other travelers don't seem to faze the Flynns.

"If January comes around and the Ravens don't get into the playoffs, we'll relax in the offseason," Michael Flynn said, dismissing the notion of skipping an NFL game. "Besides, after about four to five weeks, we start watching the reruns of the games on TiVo because we're going through withdrawal."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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