In my personal opinion, two words best describe the infamous Raider Nation: Dedication and Delusion. That being said, I'am still proud to say I'am a member of the fanbase, and have been for the past 7 years.
Talk about a rough stretch, man I'll be glad when this losing ends. But I digress.
Still, something I've noticed about the fanbase is that almost every fan, whether old or young, mexican or asian, girl or boy, etc. actually have very clever stories for liking the team.
Let's not confuse this with liking a popular, consistently good team. Such as oh say, rooting for the Dallas Cowboys. No, the Oakland Raiders didn't have all that much success in the 90's, and only had a few years in the early 2000's.
So than, what made you end up start liking the team? What's kept you cheering for them, despite the criticism, every Sunday afternoon?
I'd actually love to know.
I'll begin with my story that picks up in the late winter of 2003. My first real year of actually liking football.
For most of my childhood, I really wasn't into any sports at all. I much preferred playing with my Star Wars action figures, or even watching Dragon Ball Z, than engaging in the conversations about Bulls, Yankees, Cowboys, etc.
You really can't blame me.
So, fast foward to 8th grade in Junior High School, and I started playing football with friends. I was shocked to find out how much fun I was having. As I started getting more into playing it, naturally, it was coming high time I picked a team to call my own.
Uh oh, here comes the complicated part.
After growing up in a family of Ram Fans, I quickly made the assessment not to join the crowd. Looks like I made the right call there. Next, I started thinking about all the teams closest to Las Vegas, I needed one that was in traveling distance to go see. Mark the Cardinals off that list, they sucked. So I was left with three choices: Chargers, Raiders, and the 49ers.
Yeah, San Francisco got marked off. I don't know, something about Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens I didn't like back then. So, San Diego and Oakland were all that was left. Looked at who was better, who had a better history. Also found a few pictures of being a little kid in one of those teams gear. Yup. So than...
Hell Yeah, I was going to be an Oakland Raiders Fan!
Those uniforms are just too classic. In retrospect, I also think Ice Cube also had an effect. He was rocking the Jerry Rice jersey in the, "Gangsta Nation", video, and I believed he was the coolest. Yeah, West Coast rap was the shit back then.
Over the years, gradually I learned more and more about the Silver and Black. Enough to the point now, where I guarantee I know more about the team than the average fan my age.
But in liking the team has come with a hefty price. As any member of Raider Nation will tell you.
What I mean to say is wow, I never knew how many people downright hate Raider Fans. Hahaha. Hilarious how even though the team has been dreadful for years, I've heard every remark you can think of about it.
Raider Fans are stereotyped, but not limited to such negative adjectives such as: Criminals, Disrespecful, Rude, Overly Loud, Obnoxious, Gangsters, Aggressive, etc.
To be fair, some Raider Fans really do give the fanbase a bad name. Nothing is worth bragging about if you have the same level of class as Eagle Fans.
But not all fall under those categories. Because, over the years I've found some positive traits that are seen in most, such as: Loyalty, Passion, Creativity, Honesty, Optimism, and sometimes even Respectfulness.
Though almost all of us blame the refs for making bad calls, no matter why they threw their flags. It comes with the territory.
Still at the end of the day, it's called Raider Nation for a reason. A national fanbase that is appreciated and despised by many. Most of us have crazy reasons for joining. But it all comes down to one question I gotta ask you.
How did you become an Oakland Raiders Fan?