Priest religious about football, auctions off Ravens-Texans ticket for Sunday's playoff game
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Jan. 10, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 9, 2012 at 7:10 p.m.
When the Rev. Stan DeBoe steps off the plane in Baltimore this weekend, he'll trade his priestly collar for a purple and black Ravens jacket.
On Sunday, the Ravens will play the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I won't be wearing my collar to the game," DeBoe laughed. "Football is supposed to be cold, played in the rain and tough."
A feverish Ravens enthusiast since the team's inception in 1996, the Our Lady of Sorrows priest has been a religious season ticket holder for 13 consecutive years.
"I still have my inaugural season ticket from 1998," said DeBoe, who keeps his Sept. 16, 1998 Ravens ticket in plastic encasing in his office. Three glass-encased autographed footballs, stuffed Ravens teddy bears, oversized Ravens decals, and a Ravens ball cap also fill the priest's office.
"Yes, I'm a Ravens fan," DeBoe jested, staring at the memorabilia around his desk. "There aren't many of us down here."
Every year, he purchases season ticket packages for about $700, in hopes of attending a game in Baltimore, his former home.
"I keep buying tickets even though I usually end up selling them to the people sitting near the seats," he said. "If I ever get up there for a game, the guy that buys them from me will sell them back to me."
DeBoe said he likely would have sold Sunday's playoff tickets as well, until he realized his beloved Ravens would be challenging the Texans for a playoff win.
But instead of cashing in on the lower level, section 113, row 40, tickets, he decided to put one of the tickets up for auction to help raise money for a much-needed church bus.
"The Texans are my No. 2 team," he said. "When I realized the Texans would be playing the Ravens in the game, I thought I'd have a little fun and raffle off the ticket."
DeBoe announced his auction idea during Masses on Sunday, and told the congregation to email his office with bids on the playoff package. The auction kicked off with a starting bid of $700. Within 24 hours, the announcement went viral on Facebook and spread word of mouth in the Victoria area. As of Tuesday, the highest bid reached was $1,400.
DeBoe said the winning bidder will receive a Ravens-Texans ticket to Sunday's game, free lodging, airfare, and a trip to a playoff game with a priest.
"I don't have a goal in mind for the auction, whatever we make, I'll be happy. It's more for fun than anything else," he said.
All monies earned from the auction will go toward the purchase of a Greyhound-sized bus for transporting church members to church-related activities. The church has raised about $40,000 for the bus, but needs about $50,000 more to purchase the vehicle.
The auction closes at 5 p.m. Thursday, and the winner will be announced shortly after.
"All I can say is it's going to be an interesting ride back for whoever's team loses," he chuckled. "I'm a Ravens fan, I can't predict against them."