Proud of Raider Nation
Jon York – Sep 28, 2012
I have attended so many games as a visitor. I've watched the Raiders play in the Kingdome when they were a division rival and I can't count how many times I have ventured the confines of Jack Murphy, er, Qualcomm Stadium to see the Raiders and Chargers face off.
I wore silver and black every time and saw how I and my fellow fans have been treated at these stadiums. That is not to say every opposing fan was out of control and "we" were all innocent, far from it... And yet I've had things thrown at me, chosen to ignore people when the talk bordered on ridiculous, and seen plenty to make me wonder if that's how Raider games are. I know we carry with us a bad reputation for talking trash and going too far when it was returned but I have always maintained it's not all the fault of Raider fans - we seem to bring out the worst in others.
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending my first Raider home game.
I'll be honest - I know Raider fans who take it too far. I've heard the talk, "They should be smart enough not to wear their team's crap in our house!" I also came to the game knowing that the Steelers fans are also a passionate group that travel well... Well enough that my particular group was evenly divided - and all planned on proudly displaying their colors.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.
I surely didn't expect to see so much black and yellow - the nerve of so many in those colors to roam the tailgates flaunting their team. And yet, I saw nothing more than two excited fans bases talking trash and in many cases, having a drink together.
I wasn't sure that I could expect all Raider fans to act as invested as I do - not as a slight to fellow fans but having seen how "the other side" roots for their team. My entire section barely sat down the entire game and I know I wasn't alone in still not having my voice back by mid-week.
I wasn't sure that I could expect the defense to step up at key times. I am an eternal optimist (unless you catch me within an hour of a loss) but after that Miami game and with so many players out with injury I worried over the defense being able to contain a good offense.
I expect Raider fans to be concerned when their players go down... Even so, with as much criticism as Darrius Heyward-Bey has drawn during his time in Oakland I was shocked when the crowd began chanting "D-H-B!" after he gave us a thumbs up. It was a very touching moment and a memory I will carry with me forever. Just cheering wasn't enough for us, for our player (as much as Steve Corkran would hate that possessive!).
Throughout the game the players never stopped playing. The fans never stopped believing. I've heard that sometimes the fans boo their own, but even early on when things looked a little dire it didn't happen. Just as importantly the fans rarely stopped being classy. While there may have been a couple (possibly alcohol induced) incidences of indecency it was far less than I have seen compared to those other games.
My friends were able to leave having felt like they had an enjoyable experience - one of my Steeler faithful friends even got her picture taken with The Violator. I left knowing I had a wonderful experience.
Players of the Raider Nation, I thank you for a great game. I thank you for not giving up or giving in.
Fans of the Raider Nation, I thank you for showing my friends a great time. I thank you for showing me a great time. I thank you for confirming that we are crazed fans, but not out of control fans.
I'm proud of all of you Raider Nation.
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