Art Donovan

My wife and I looked at a few different wedding venues. Some were in hotels, others in more scenic locations. Most of them looked the same, there was a dance floor, a place for the ceremony and a bar. Like all smart grooms, I would have said yes to whatever she liked the most.

Then we visited Valley Country Club. She fell in love with the mansion, it’s elegant grand staircase and beautiful fireplaces and I loved the sports bar decorated with Art Donovan‘s memorabilia.

The Colts Hall of Famer owned the country club and it had just become the perfect place for a Baltimore sports fan and his bride to get married.

When we took the tour of the mansion we were promised that Donovan would stop by to say “hello” and he certainly did. While Rebecca picked out table cloths and centerpieces, my dad and I sat down with a pro football legend as he enjoyed a few Schlitz’s and told us stories. Even into his 80s, Donovan was sharp and quick-witted. He made us laugh and answered all of our questions. He conversed with us and the conversation never slowed.

Art threw a quick wisecrack at my mom when she dragged me away from the conversation and back into wedding planning and then laughed hysterically when she didn’t get the punch line. Before dad and I were pulled away from Art he was kind enough to pose for a picture and a sign a couple beer cans.

As our big day got closer we were told that Donovan may stop by to enjoy a few beverages in the bar. I loved the idea and knew that our guest list would too. Your wedding day flies by in the blink of an eye, but I still enjoy looking at my digital picture frame and seeing pictures pop up of different family and friends who stopped in the bar to take a picture and talk football with Art. I’m sure they will remember that moment forever.

I was born 20 years after Donovan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 27 years after he retired, but I’ll always remember our conversation and the way he treated everyone he came in contact with at our wedding.

Rest in peace, Art Donovan.