Positive Karma for Raider Nation - Part Two
Captain Jack Rack 'em Levy – Oct 11, 2012
Remember how you always hear stories about modern athletes not only being selfish and indignant to their fans? Or how their attitudes rub off on the ‘Me First’ younger ‘Generation X’ and THEIR kids? (By definition and depending on where you look, the Captain is either a LATE Baby Boomer or EARLY Gen X’er) Well, Hear Hear mateys and wenches... for I have something indeed encouraging to espouse.
I presently am stationed with a fellow Navy Chief by name of Sean Lennon – he of the active duty Hospital Corpsman rating while I’m just ‘Retired’ (and I’ll leave it at that). Sean is originally from Hawaii, son of a Navy man like I am the son of a Navy man, although he is a proud die-hard fan of the New England Patriots like his father (I forgive him and did give him my classic and oft-told line I tell to ALL Patsies* fans... “IT WAS A FUMBLE!!)
Sean pulled me aside after we met here, as he (along with every other person at this location) caught the full splendor of my “Raider’d Out to the Max” pick-up I drive, not only here but in my homestead back in Florida. He beamed as he spoke about HIS son Brook, who is a True Silver and Black, breathe Raiders until his last breath diehard fanatic, and how great it would be for his son to know that he’s in the same Chief’s Mess as the Salty Captain Jack! Well Gawwrrrrssssshhh ((choking up a bit)) tell me more Shipmate!
Sean relayed a story of how he had purchased tickets for himself and his son to travel from their San Diego home up to Oakland for a game with the Patriots a few years ago (I believe it was the 14 December 2008 game based on his son’s age, a 49-26 shellacking with Matt Cassel piloting the foes from New England that day, but I digress). Sean and Brook, along with his wife and daughter, would wind their way up the Pacific Coast Highway for a scenic trip before taking in the environs of Oakland Alameda County Coliseum...
... Except the trip wouldn’t occur as planned. Brook told his father about a scheduling conflict, as he was slated to start at quarterback for his youth football team in a Playoff game the same day. Wow, talk about a bummer, ‘eh? Sean asked his son, “Are you sure you want to miss the Raiders’ game? You KNOW how much you want to see them.” Brook told his father he did want to go, but his teammates were counting on him and it wouldn’t be fair to them – in a game I’m happy to say they WON that day, unlike our Raiders.
So what to do? Sean already has tickets to the game and it’s a short time away. Being a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman, spending the majority of his career in the jungles, sand and dirt with his ‘Devil Dogs,’ Sean remembered his good friend Recon Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant John "Big Daddy” Croft was stationed up in Alameda... and a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge Raiders fan to boot! Making a phone call, Sean had the tickets FEDEX’d up to ‘Big Daddy’ in time for the game – FREE OF CHARGE, because that’s what the bond of a Corpsman to his Marines is worth.
But the story gets even better...
Turns out that ‘Big Daddy’ was involved with the ‘Toys for Tots’ program the Marines perform for the community each year, with a certain star Oakland running back a guest at a charity event site visit promoting T4T with the ‘Master Guns.’ Croft told McFadden how Brook, a die-hard fan for the Raiders had put the team ahead of him and forfeited his chance to see them live for the game.
It didn’t take long for McFadden to react, personally stroking an autographed pic to Brook, with words to the effect of ‘Keep going on your path of teamwork, and you’ll reap the benefits.’ Signed Darren McFadden. (Note: I can’t remember the verbatim transcription of DMac’s signing, but it is very inspiring and memorable and unfortunately I can’t do it true justice). The autographed photo is the prized possession of Brook to this day, who is tickled to show EVERYONE the picture with little cajoling. Yes, TEAM comes BEFORE the individual... DMac knows this as does Brook Lennon.
Finally, for all the “Old Time” (or O.G. depending on who you talk to) Raider fans who remember actually seeing Jack “The Assassin” Tatum play for our beloved team, striking fear into the hearts and minds of Raiders opponents each Sunday (and occasional Monday), I’m happy to announce the former college All-America from THE Ohio State University will be honored in his hometown of Passaic, New Jersey, where he also was an high school ‘All America’ as well.
I was fortunate to have been given notice by Mr. Gary Brown, President of the Jersey Shore Raider Booster Club of the dedication of “Jack Tatum Street” outside of Tatum’s former high school football stadium on Saturday 13 October 2012 at 11:30 AM Sharp! The brief dedication ceremony will take place on the corner of Paulison and River Drive in Passaic, so if you’re a true Raider fan within distance and would like to revel with your fellow Raider Nation members as we remember and honor a great Raider on AND off the field, be sure to contact Mr. Gary Brown of the Jersey Shore Raider Booster Club and come out for Jack.
Until next week, when I’m sure we’ll be talking about the Raiders’ performance against the Dirty Birds in Atlanta, your Captain bids you a blood-curdling “YAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!”
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