Through Thick and Thin: Motivating Raider Nation

Mike WoodsCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders passes against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 29, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

So if you expect the worst, why go to games?  Why pay to see these players play? Surely watching a team struggle is not exciting, of course being letdown time and time again is no fun.

Maybe by divine intervention, Jamarcus Russell will turn into that franchise quarterback that we hoped for.  Perhaps if the football gods love us enough, maybe we’ll get to the playoffs and win a game or two. 

Wishful thinking maybe, but this is why we pay, this is why we watch.

Everyone needs some type of motivation, to push them over the top, and in the same way every one needs someone to believe in them even when times get tough. Amidst all of the unanswered question revolving around the team and the expectations, one thing needs to remain constant to achieve those expectations, a strong support system.

Of course there will always be bandwagon fans, those who see the bus leaving and try to jump on at the last minute. Better yet, those who try to get on the bus for free when it’s finally moving, after the rest of us have paid.

However, never forget when things start to click; when the bus starts rolling, it’s those fans that have been there from the beginning that will enjoy the ride the most.

So let’s try something new. Let’s watch effort, let’s watch progress.  Let’s measure the players by this instead of strictly wins and losses.

Now as Herm Edwards passionately put it, yes you play the game to win, but if the effort is there the wins will come, no one can argue that.

Stay strong Raider nation for the best is yet to come.  As William Penn put it, “no pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.”

With a promising young wide receiver in Darius Heyward-Bey and a talented RB and QB in McFadden and Russell, time and patience is key. You can’t take a baby out of the crib at 4 month and expect it to walk can you? Players need time to develop and learn the game together.

So as you’re watching opening day Monday, watch with optimism because who knows, maybe this is the season where wishful thinking becomes reality.