Friday, October 28, 2005

Raiders Fan 101

I’ll never forget my first game back after the Raiders returned to Oakland. The Coliseum lot was nearly full and we were having a tough time finding a parking spot, until some dude jumped out and waved us down. He and his buddies promptly cleared their barbecue and chairs out of the way so we could park. That’s the kind of neighborly Raiders fan story you read in the media every day, isn’t it?

Fast forward to last week. My cousin and I ended up parked next to a guy and his teenage son. They had driven up from San Bernardino County. They were cool cats. They gave us hot dogs off their grill. I could go on with similar stories…My point is that you may be reading Raider Take as a curious observer, and not necessarily a member, of the Raider Nation. You may have never heard the good news. You may have been fed so much propaganda that you are afraid to attend a Raiders game. You may have read this recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which tries, yet characteristically fails, to be positive. You may be on the fence, unsure and uncertain. Well, it’s time to get off the fence. It’s time to join the Raider Nation. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Check your baggage at the door. You have no doubt absorbed many lies and exaggerations about Raiders fans, whose passion and intensity are too often mistaken for crudeness and criminality. This misimpression has been perpetuated by lazy sportswriters and commentators who don’t like to let research get in the way of an easy deadline or a cheap laugh. Leave this baggage behind, open your mind and see for yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised.

2. The Coliseum is perfectly safe. That said, don’t look for trouble in any crowd of 50,000, because you can always find it. That’s not a Raiders issue, it’s a common sense issue. It applies to 49ers games, Britney Spears concerts or wherever. On the off chance that trouble finds you, take it easy and walk away. Swallow your pride, not your teeth.

3. Have fun and be yourself. At last week’s game, my cousin and I met three Raiders fans from England. One was dressed in a long white and red Anglican smock, and he was stoked about having just met
Gorilla Rilla. That must have been a sight. The point is that you can come in a t-shirt or dressed as a space alien. As long as you bleed silver and black, the Raider Nation embraces you.


4. Learn as you go. Raiders fans are passionate about their heritage, which includes frequent arcane references to things like the Sea of Hands, Mad Stork and Immaculate Reception. Don't worry if you don't have a clue about this stuff. There are no pop quizzes here. As Raiders fans, we are proud of the past, but we consider you part of our future, even if you’ve never heard of Heidi.

In closing, consider yourself cordially invited to join the unparalleled fans of the greatest team in the National Football League. We'll see you at the game.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said!!! I'll never forget my first and only visit there. Everyone was extrememly nice to me. From the night before at the bars where I was invited to several tailgate parties to the next day. My visit there was a wonderful experience.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

You speak the truth, brother! We need to keep it up. We need to fill the joint, to keep the Raiders sound from a business perspective, and to ultimately keep them in Oakland for future generations...Which means inspiring newcomers to come to the games. Which means turning the tide of misperception through stories like yours. Amen.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a huge Raider fan since I was about 8 yrs. old (1968). I am embarrased at how bad the Raiders are. No longer feared, but now laughed at. I live in NJ and am in Giants country. Other fans think the halloween atmosphere at Raiders home games is comical, not at all intmidating. When the hell are we going to return to glory? we need the spirit and talent of the 70's and mid-80's Raiders. Mr. Davis PLEASE GET A DEFENSE! That is what wins championships.

6:14 AM  
Blogger NewYorkRaider said...

"I live in NJ and am in Giants country. Other fans think the halloween atmosphere at Raiders home games is comical, not at all intmidating."

That's pretty entertaining stuff. I too live in Giants / Jets country, and while they are fond of talking smack some 3,000 miles away, they would quiver if they ever had the balls to show up at the HOT.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm primed to see ... I'm a New Season Ticket Holder for '06 and it'll be my first attended Raider games. (I couldn't pass up the end of the PSL's.)
My work collegue tried to dissuade me from the Raiders - (he's a died-in Niners fan) but it didn't work, -- he cheers on the wrong side of the Bay, I said.
My wife and I will be there in silver and black to start our Fan 101 journey.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure where to post this but I wanted to ask if anyone has heard of National Clicks?

Can someone help me find it?

Overheard some co-workers talking about it all week but didn't have time to ask so I thought I would post it here to see if someone could help me out.

Seems to be getting alot of buzz right now.

Thanks

10:12 PM  

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