A Day With The Raider Nation

By Melissa Villarin, SacMidtown.com

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a San Francisco 49er fan. My first sports crush was on Steve Young and for a few years in high school, I dreamed of being a Gold Rush Dancer. With that being said, I did something this weekend I never thought I would ever do. I went to a Raiders game.

At first, I felt like a traitor. This wasn’t my team. I don’t like the Raiders at all and their fans scare me. I mean really scare me. I’ve heard the stories about the “Raider Nation” and the “Black Hole.” I’ve watched the news and seen stories about people throwing things at the opposing team’s fans and I’ve read about the fights.

Despite this, I decided to go because it would be a chance to hang out with a very good friend of mine. I told myself it would be ok as long as I didn’t cheer, I wore neutral colors and I didn’t tell anyone I wasn’t a Raider fan.

As I walked into the Coliseum, after getting patted down, I could feel the craziness. The game hadn’t even started yet and fans were already going nuts. They didn’t even seem to care it was raining.

Many had their faces painted, some wore costumes, others were dressed head to toe in black in silver, and all of them sang the same thing at the top of their lungs, “Raaaaaiiiiiiders, Raaaaaiiiiiiders.”

At this point, I guess the feeling could best be described as controlled chaos.

We grabbed some food and found our seats just in time for kick-off. Luckily we were surrounded by what appeared to be the calm fans. They cheered during the good plays and booed during the bad. It seemed like a normal football experience. Boy was I wrong.

By halftime, the rain had stopped and the sun started coming out. Then the third quarter happened. The Raiders opened it up by running the kick-off return back return for a touchdown. The “calm” fans erupted and there was no turning back. With each play the chants began to get louder and louder. Every penalty was followed up with an F-bomb or two or 20. The penalties also start upsetting the guy next to me. He was so fired up you would’ve thought he bet his house on this game. He was pacing back and forth and pulling his hair, things were getting intense.

The noise started to get louder as a fan in the next section started jumping on a metal covering on the ground. He did this every few minutes, while waving his arms trying to pump the crowd up. That was followed by a guy in front of us kicking his own chair and trying to convince my friend and I to get up and cheer.

The game went down to the final seconds and the Raiders were able to tie it and send it to overtime. That’s it, I thought, these people are going to lose their minds no matter the outcome.

The Chiefs won the toss and overtime begins. The crowd is out of control at this point. I can’t even make out what they’re yelling because it’s so loud.

It doesn’t take long for the Raiders get the ball, drive down and kick a field goal to win. The fans go absolutely wild. They cheer like they just won the Super Bowl. People are hugging, slapping fives, and jumping up and down. It’s no longer controlled, it’s now complete chaos.

At that moment it hits me, Raider fans are no different than me or any other fans out there. Sure they’re loud, over the top, and at times obnoxious, but they love their team. It doesn’t matter how bad, or good, the Raiders may be, their fans will always be right there, cheering them on. These fans are passionate, loyal and dedicated. They just have a unique way of showing it. I hope the Raiders appreciate the devotion. After seeing it first hand, I know I do.

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Posted by on Nov 9 2010. Filed under 49ers/Raiders/A's/Giants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Comments for “A Day With The Raider Nation”

  1. Tony

    Good article. Now, go back and try it again but this time wearing the other team’s colors (or hat, jersey, etc.) I went to a Raider/Patriot game several years ago. While lining up at the gate to get in, there was a guy in his mid 40’s with his son who must have been about 6 or 7. The kid was wearing a Patriots hat. I watched a crowd of Raider fans encircle the father and son, shouting obscenities/f-bombs, getting in the dad’s face, trying to knock the hat off the kid, etc. To the dad’s credit, he didn’t try to respond other than to draw his son closer and say “we just want to enjoy the game”. They ended up leaving.

  2. Ralph

    I am a Raider fan I have been to countless Raider games and have never seen anything like what Tony witnessed. In fact, we have brought opposing fans into our tailgates and treated them to food and drink fit for a Raider! Try wearing a Raider jersey to any other teams event and see if you can even get a smile/wave/ or nod. Sometimes its not easy being a Raider fan but I truly love my team, the fans, and would never have it any other way! Rrrraaaaiiiiiideeeeeerrrrrssssss!

  3. Sam

    I’m a diehard Seahawks fan and went to the Raiders game wearing all my colors a couple weeks ago. The Raiders fans were all great, but I imagine that had to do more with the 33-3 drubbing than anything else. The only “incident,” if you can call it that, occurred while I was standing in line to get a beer and the biggest, scariest looking fan I had seen all day walked up behind me and said “way to stick up for your team” and gave me a high five. Of course, by that point my team was down 14-0 and I would have probably preferred getting thrown out for fighting than having to endure watch the second half…

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