Tuesday, August 28th, 2007 at 9:35 pm in Uncategorized.
There is perhaps no good way to introduce someone to the Raider Nation. But the Friday exhibition game against the Rams was probably one of the mildest forms of first contact with fans reputed to be some of the baddest but most faithful in footballdom. No, I take that back…in all sportsdom.
“Raider Lite — not as intense but still fun,” said one fan, who earlier looked like something out of a commercial as he ran toward the coliseum entrance while flinging off his polo shirt in favor of a Raiders jersey.
But is the reputation deserved? Don’t know. I mean, one burly guy was talking about the film “The Devil Wears Prada.” And the couple in matching #34 Jordan jerseys definitely looked benign.
They are colorful, though, even in black and silver.
“I’m the phantom,” said one man trying to scalp some last minute tickets. From the smell of his breath, he had evidently been working himself up for the game with a hearty helping of libations. The phantom part referred to a silver mask that covered most of the right side of his face, accentuating his black and silver Raiders contact lenses. “I’m the 12th player on the field that you don’t see,” he added as an explanation. Okay…
I wanted to go to the last night game of the season dressed as a pirate and hang out with the ultimate Raiders fans, The Black Hole gang. But I got caught at the last minute and barely had enough time to don a black turtle neck. It was cold and black was the safest bet at not getting caught wearing the wrong colors. I’ve heard bad things can happen to those who make that mistake in Raiderland.
So you can imagine how jealous I was of the Voodooman Raider fan with what appeared to be a shrunken skull and shark teeth atop his wide-brimmed western hat. Real or fake, I wondered. You just never know around here.
Or the Viking Raider couple, although I couldn’t tell if they were together or just happened to be sporting his and hers spiky shoulder pads and horn-rimmed hats.
By the time I got to my seats in the second tier the Raiders had already scored their first field goal against the Rams and the Raiderettes were shaking their black and silver to hometown boy MC Hammer’s “Oaktown.”
Football is such an American sport, one fan explained to an Italian woman seeing her first game. “The men are on steroids, the women’s breasts are fake, it’s violent as hell and everyone gets drunk.”
As I sat back and let the experience wash over me, I decided the fans’ slogan should be “the agony and the ecstasy.” No matter how well the Raiders were doing, the fans complained…like demanding parents.
“They look pretty good,” said one man.
“At least they’re moving the ball,” the other man replied. That was shortly before a touchdown that people (including the fan wearing a “Real Women Wear Black” T-shirt) to their feet, handslapping, hooting and hollering. Once the excitement settled down, the man decided the team should be up by at least another 10 points, even though they were blowing the Rams out of the astroturf.
Fans’ abuse was not reserved for their team.
“So far, so fun” said a mustached fan before bellowing insults (“You suuuuck!!!”) at the Rams’ quarterback.
“What the Fxxx is going on down there,” shouted a gentleman when the Rams blocked a Raiders pass, as if he could not believe the nerve of those guys.
So, that was just a warmup for the real deal when the season starts Sept. 9.
Already that night, as the Raiderettes were “Bringin’ Sexy Back” with their pompoms, I bet the fans were wondering when the Raiders were going to be bringin the Superbowl back.