In Raider years I’m still a Young Buck. That means I’m old enough to call the generation under me “Young Punks” but young enough to have never experienced a football Sunday in my lifetime without Al Davis.
I’m one of the members of Raider Nation that grew up spending my Sundays at the L.A. Coliseum with my dad, watching the Silver and Black.
The live band playing The Autumn Wind right before kickoff. Football’s fabulous females! The sea of black screaming “Raaaaaaiiiiiiddddddeeeeeerrrrrrrssssss!!!!!” in every inch of the historic stadium and throughout every street that circled the Coliseum. Parking in some stranger’s front yard, me and pops would walk blocks just to save loot but half the fun was the people you met on the way to the game.
Basically being a part of an extended family is what I found myself missing most once Mr. Davis returned the Raiders to their rightful home in Oakland. That’s what Raider Nation is all about – family.
Mr. Davis made his franchise a family affair. He loved his players like they were his own and we the fans loved the Raiders like they were are own. Raider Nation is still deep in L.A. so we always connect on Sundays in some way. Truth be told, we’re still representing the Silver and Black so well that we’ve made at lot of local spots Raider Bars without even trying. Just doing what we always have and always will do – getting up early on Sundays and watching the Raiders.
Over the years I’ve had my ups and downs, falling-outs and falling-in-love moments with my team. Marcus Allen reversing field and running to NFL Films immortality made me proud. The same Allen beefing with Davis then sporting Kansas City red shook my football soul. Watching the greatest athlete of his generation – Bo Jackson – was the best memory of all. Being there the moment Bo’s career came to an unfair conclusion might have been the worst pain of all.
But nothing hurt quite like the Raiders leaving Los Angeles. I was back to hating Davis at that point.
Then I got over it and got myself a plane ticket or just made the drive and got a couple tickets and me and my dad did the same thing again, this time overlooking the beautiful East Bay. Same atmosphere. Same chants of “Raaaaaaaiiiiiiiiddddddddeeeeeeerrrrrrrsssssss!!!!!” except this time it was the tunnel at the BART stop for the Coliseum.
Once again I forgot about my issues with Davis. That’s’ what family is about, right? Every family has drama. Raider family is no different from my family because Raider family is just like every other family.
But that’s the way Mr. Davis always wanted it – family. That’s what Raider Nation is about.
This Sunday will be the first Sunday of my life without Al Davis. Crazy to say that. The fact of the matter is the Raiders were around before Davis and the Raiders will live on after Davis. It just so happens I was born during the Davis regime, I’ve never known the Raiders as anything but Al Davis.
While the team itself may change as coaches come and go, players stop then leave, the team even moves from one part of the state to another, no matter what one thing remains the same – Raider Nation.
If you’re a member of Raider Nation you have your own reason for why you took up membership. I was just lucky enough to grow up with them as my team. No matter what changes from here out the lasting legacy of Mr. Davis will always be the family he created, the best family in football world. Raider Nation will be here forever because Al Davis wanted it that way. It’s the Raider Way.
Just Win, baby!