Last night, I went into a video game store to get the kids some new distractions and the clerk said to me, “It must be hard being a Raider Fan.” I looked at her and just laughed. I asked her which team she rooted for and she said, “I’ve liked the Baltimore Ravens since I was a kid, because they have purple in their uniforms and I really like the color purple.” I didn’t have to say another word Raider Nation. Although, the thought running through my mind was, “The Minnesota Vikings have purple in their uniform too.”
On the drive home, my mind started thinking back to a time when the Oakland Raiders were considered great. They were a team to be reckoned with. During the 70’s and 80’s, teams were afraid to play against the Raiders. John Madden said it best, “They want to say the Raiders are dirty. Yeah, we’re dirty, but what are you going to do about it.” That personified the Raiders mystique and made them very exciting to watch. I can remember sitting on the living room floor watching the games on a small, color Sony television set (Yes, with the dials). I couldn’t wait to see Doctor Death clobber some receiver going across the middle, or Ted Hendricks lighting up some quarterback.
Along came Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes who shut down receivers. Howie Long and Greg Townsend controlled the game at the line of scrimmage. Marcus Allen ran all over teams. It didn’t matter who the quarterback was, because we had a running back and receivers that were dynamic. The offensive line was powerful and mean and the defense, just as mean or meaner, controlled the flow of every game.
I turned on my IPOD and heard the song by Ice Cube, “Come and get it.” If you haven’t heard it yet, this song will fire you up. I looked around my town and saw a plethora of Oakland Raiders shield stickers on people’s cars. Raider Nation definitely has a way of getting me fired up for the next season. I looked down at the Raider Nation “Grim Reaper” tattoo on my right calf and thought, “I’m a Raider for life.”
It’s not hard being a Raider Fan. I love this team, its history, all the controversial games, and the stories I can share from my childhood that involve the Raiders. I got to see all three Super Bowl wins. Throughout the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, the Oakland Raiders were always in contention to win the American Football Conference (AFC) West.
Not only are the games awesome to watch, but the tailgate parties before the game are something special. I have met so many passionate Oakland Raiders Fans at tailgate parties. Being among the many silver and black faithful is inspirational. I can recall one game when my cooler handles broke, a Raider Fan who I did not know came running over and helped me carry it to my friend’s car. I’ve heard people say they are scared to go to a Raiders game because of the fans. I’ve never been scared or in fear of anything at Raiders games. The only thing I have ever felt is the love, passion, and undying support that Raider Nation has for its team. The Raider Nation’s motto is, “Win lose or tie, Raiders till I die.”
I wouldn’t give up being a fan of the Oakland Raiders for anything. I am part of Raider Nation and this is my team. I will sail across oceans with this team, or I will go down with the ship. The worldwide support that the Raiders receive is from the Raider Nation faithful. On Sunday’s you can feel the energy from the crowd. We will give our team the will to win through our cheers and chants, or our sneers and rants. We are the best sports fans in the world. We are Raider Nation, and we all are Raiders for life!