A few days ago we celebrated Memorial Day, a day to remember those who sacrificed for this country.
Sacrifices come in many forms. When young men train for positions on NFL teams, they sacrifice to achieve a high level of performance. Now is the time for us to remember the sacrifices made by the young Oakland Raiders who will bring forth a fruitful season in 2010.
This is what we hope for.
Some of them sacrifice by eating certain diets, doing exercises, and keeping good schedules to build up their strength and mental stamina.
Many of them study tapes, routes and entire playbooks like doctoral students who study to pass qualifying exams. Many of the young Oakland Raiders are like aspiring Ph.Ds in other disciplines. They are becoming experts in their specialty in professional football.
Some of them sacrifice by spending hours on fields and in weight rooms, away from their loved ones, trying to come up to a certain physical standard or weight.
This writer awakens with a scripture on her heart. Remembering the ups and downs of some of the people who have played professional football who now are seniors is an honorable mission.
It is like remembering men of war who come back to their hometowns and families wounded and affected by the experiences of conflict and war.
One such senior Oakland Raider had a nickname, War Horse. The name symbolized, to many of his college associates, that he was strong, streamlined, and disciplined in his work ethic.
He was a man who never became overweight. At 67-years old, he is still slim but strong.
This man, like so many others who have had illustrious careers and who served in the military, have also survived many near tragedies.
His life is a living testimony of endurance, and survival after many trials and tribulations.
Have you ever been hit by a car? This man was.
Have you ever frozen to death and were resuscitated? This man did.
Have you ever reminisced and returned to a familiar location and slept at the foot of a great tree? This man did.
One neighbor in a neighborhood which this writer desires to establish as a historical location said that this former, senior Oakland Raider would sit under the great tree pictured in the article photo.
A loving neighbor who cooked hot meals on Sunday afternoons, would see him there and offer him dinner. The daughter of the neighbor would go out and greet the former veteran and Oakland Raider and share a delicious hot meal.
He would sit under the great tree, and remember the good times of his career with the Oakland Raiders.
That kind-hearted neighbor passed away in 2007. She will always be remembered as a woman who knew how to demonstrate love and respect for a man who himself sacrificed when he was young, and entertained millions by performing outstanding feats on the playing field.
Who is this man? Just call him War Horse.
His name symbolizes the beauty, and strength of a great stallion. He represents a category of senior players who fought a good fight on the NFL playing field.
He represents a man both nurtured and wounded by the experiences of playing professional football in America.
As he sat under that great tree, no doubt he recited a powerful scripture.
The beauty of remembering this senior Oakland Raider who represents a category of senior NFL players is that this man sought counsel and guidance from another senior citizen who taught him to recite verbatim the scripture below.
The scripture says it all. Finally, this article is a tribute to the War Horse, his mentor, and to others who have survived the good times and the bad times. We honor the sacrifices these sportsmen have made.
It is the least we can do when we recognize their contributions to the Oakland Raiders and to the NFL which has been a flame of inspiration in the gigantic torch representing freedom, justice, liberty and sportsmanship in America.
May the Oakland Raiders be like a tree...bringing forth its fruit in the 2010 season.
"He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper..." Psalm 1