After last weekend mayhem and ensuing victory (Raider Oli Reports – Panthers), I headed off down to sunny San Diego to spend the week with family where I caught up with the latest Californian IPA’s and a multitude of other bits and bobs. Then came the trip north, back to the city of Oakland! After some mishaps with the baggage handlers and a trip to the nearest luggage store, I was ready for the debauchery of the Raider tailgate all over again!
Sunday morning arrived and once again I was out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning and down to the local BART station to saviour the vision of the tailgates surrounding the Coliseum as I passed over the caged bridge. This time I felt a little more at home and headed straight to D lot to catch up with my host Ben “Raider Pimp” Newsom who welcomed me (at around 8:30am I should add) with beer and some most fantastic ribs, can’t complain at that!! Then I dropped round to see an old friend Dougie Seguin from the North West Booster Club, who travels to each and every game despite now being based in Seattle! The fantastic festivities continued around the lots with a great deal of hype ready for the 1:05pm kick-off.#
I think this time I should mention the atmosphere in the stadium. The first couple quarters rolled by and the crowd was suffering, despite our celebrations of previous weeks it seemed something was lacking. We were missing a step, not just the team, but the fans knew it. Then somewhere around the middle of the third quarter I witness the impact of “Fan Power” for the very first time. Our team needed us and we showed them we were there, the tension was immense, the fans louder than ever – the tides were turning! It was to be the makings of yet another phenomenal comeback. The defence fed off the noise and energy in the stands whilst the offence thrived in the moment and executed to precision to take us to a 38-24 lead.
Whilst the final seconds ticked away on the stadium clock the team swamped the field to the backdrop of the jubilant celebrations of tens of thousands of emotional fans. Not just a winning season but a double digit winning season! (FINALLY!)
To round of a most successful week I was invited to visit the Raider Facilities in Alameda. The visit, not just being within the regular season, but also being the short week in preparation for the KC Chiefs on Thursday night, was to be ‘censored’ a little – I met with some great contacts within the organisation who showed me around this most hallowed complex. Every inch of wall space was adorned with raider mottos and reminders to the players and staff the heritage and mindset of the organisation.
Each of the walls in each of the meeting rooms were the weekly goals and season tracking tools the coaching staff use to monitor progress. The breakout rooms contained all the amenities and refreshment our men in the Silver & Black required. Then was for a quick peek to the practice facilities, however the team were meeting in there so access was to be a little restricted.
Then for the obligatory photo opportunity out the front of the building, only to be presented with a fantastic signed Sean Smith mini helmet and some stern instruction that I was to be flown back to Oakland immediately if Thursday was not to go back to plan.
I am now the proud owner of a 2-0 record in Oakland and hope to see a great deal more! For now it is time to head to the airport to return to normality and to my very patient and understanding Raiderette Wife and Future Hall of Fame Son. The Raider Nation has treated me very well, the fans are so welcoming and true fanatics for our beloved Silver & Black! I must extend a great thanks to all that welcomed me throughout the trip.
Oakland (and San Diego), it’s be awesome, I’ll be back!!
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