A tribute to the Oakland Raiders and Al Davis.
There was a time in American history when the older folks sat in a rocking chair on the front porch and told the history of the family, the city, the state and nation. Some of them also told stories of the last minute victories of the Oakland Raiders.
It was called Oral History, and some American colleges actually built programs, teaching the technique of interviewing that older generation to record the history for the younger generation.
I took part in such an Oral History project in Fifth Ward in Houston, Texas. My generation knew very little about former slaves in Texas and there was a project to educate us so that we would not be a shallow generation.
As we learned more about the accomplishments of the past, we humbled ourselves, and we realized that who we are is built on the risks, large and small, taken by the former slaves who were determined to be free. I see a parallel for the Raider Nation. Who we are in 2009 is built on the risks, large and small, taken in earlier years of Oakland Raider history.
A knowledge of our history built up the pride and passion to rise above other, more contemporary techniques that are oppressive.
It could be that if the young Raider Nation does not know, appreciate, or understand the importance and power of history, that we, the seniors, have fallen short in our duty to relay the historical moments, events, episodes and games in Oakland Raiders history.
Having studied Hebrew and mathematics, I offer a few watered down definitions for time, including past, present, and future.
First, what is "now?" It becomes a historical, infinitesimal event, even as we think "now." "Now" becomes a past moment, for it shifts instantly to the past.
You see, time is a continuum, constantly shifting. Even the tick of the clock does not accurately record "now." The length of a tick of a clock records an interval, for the sound of the tick is too long to record (in sound) an instant in a reference called "time."
If you cut out a past interval of important events, then you cause a discontinuity, a break or "hole" in time. In fact, you cannot forget nor delete what occurs in time, rather you simply know that events are shifted, and they become history or heritage.
One thing we do know is that great nations take pride in their history. Great families take pride in their heritage. Great clans take pride in recording their genealogies.
Those who are not great, have the shallow records of past events, and the shallowness is a symptom of a nation, headed for a "fall."
Now my point. We must never forget the history of the Oakland Raiders.
Without the contributions of Al Davis as the NFL commissioner, the merger with AFL may not have occurred and those moments you treasure "now" would not have manifested.
Without the spirit and determination of past Oakland Raiders, the present generation would not have the sense of pride to be affiliated with the team.
Great nations rise and fall. Great teams have peaks and valleys. The valleys make the peaks look taller, and more beautiful.
The low moments make the high moments in history more exhilarating. The good times balance the bad times. The bad times are the frame of reference for judging that which is better.
We can not forget the history of the Oakland Raiders. To forget the history of the Oakland Raiders and Mr. Al Davis would be to forget American History.
And if we are wise, we will remember the contributions of past generations, from here to eternity.
For some believe that nothing actually is destroyed, but is transformed to another form. Just as ice becomes water and water becomes gas, so the contributions of the Oakland Raiders in the '60s are somehow transformed and connected to the '70s, and to the '80s, and to the '90s, and so on.
There is a continuum of history that serves as a rich heritage for the team.
How can we help those with a shallow understanding of the greatness of the Raiders?
Pull out those NFL films and watch for yourself. I have a few, and it is still exhilarating to watch those last minute and even last second victories of the Oakland Raiders.
You cannot forget the history of the Oakland Raiders. Just visit the archives of the Pro Football Hall of Fame where more than two million artifacts record the history of the Oakland Raiders, and the 31 other NFL teams.
To forget history would suggest we close down the museums, the Hall of Fame, and other places where history is there for all to learn, if you are a good researcher and student of history.
Yes, we will remember for if we do not, we then experience the first stage of a type of bondage. Whenever one nation enslaves another, there is an attempt to destroy the "history" of the ones who are in bondage.
When naysayers want to crush the spirit of the Raider Nation, they attempt to distort the memories of the greatness of the Raider Nation in the past.
They become pessimistic of the present talent and potential of the present generation of players. Those taunts and intimidation will not work. We are not designed for bondage, rather we are designed to be victorious and free.
We will rise again. And, even if we lose a few battles, we will not lose the NFL sports "war."
We will rise again, and again, and again, from here (and now) to eternity.
Got it? I hope so.