Adventures in Oakland

What could be better than watching the Chargers beat the Raiders? Try watching the game from section 247 at the Oakland Coliseum. This wasn't my first trip to Alameda to watch these two teams play; I've actually been to the previous four games. But, this game was different than the rest. This time there was a peaceful calm to the so called "nation" on a cold and windy Sunday morning.

Now, if you ask Raider fan, they'll say it was the autumn wind that was present that day. But, if you ask me, I say they were just blowing smoke. I had a pretty good idea of what the outcome of this game was going to be on Sunday and so did everyone else. Normally, I would get much more chatter from their fans, that was not the case on Sunday.

We rolled into the parking lot at 8:15 and quickly set up shop. We were a bit lazy and little tired from spending a night on the town in SF Saturday so we decided to keep our tailgate simple. Beer, chips, and sandwiches were the items on the menu. As we relaxed and had chance to survey our surroundings it dawned on me. As much as it kills me to say this, Raider fans are among the most extremely loyal fans in the NFL. If it has a Raider emblem on it, they will buy it (well, most of the time they'll buy it). The entire parking lot takes on a scene right out of a Mad Max movie. If you've gone to this game, you know what I am talking about because there is literally a sea of black and silver. You'll even see the occasional living room set up, complete with a lazy boy recliner. I've never understood that one though, who wants to move furniture twice in one day?

After a few hours of fun, it's game time. On my way into the stadium I see sporadic groups of Charger fans giving each other the eye as if to say, "It's our turn to kick a little butt today." Another thing that I notice is the sorry state of the Coliseum. As bad as we think Qualcomm is, this stadium is even more dilapidated. There is not much to like about it except that it's a good thing that the Chargers only have to play there once a year. Given their performance on Sunday, I'm sure they won't mind.

Once inside the stadium I saw a game that was dominated in almost every possible way except for on the scoreboard. However; the Chargers dodged a few bullets (I dodged a few ice cubes) in the form of Raider penalties, dropped passes, and interceptions. The Bolts also squandered away a sure touchdown, a field goal, and an extra point. For the most part though, the crowd was never in the game until the 3rd quarter when they managed to close within two points. Even then, I had a very food feeling that the Chargers would respond. And respond they did, coming up with some crucial plays down the stretch to put the game away.

As I sat there admiring the victory that day, I began to think about how far this team has come when no one gave them a chance to succeed. Especially when the so-called experts, who I might add have never been seen at training camp by this wanna be writer, labeled this team as the worst in the league.

I know it's much too soon to gloat because there is still so much to be accomplished, but it sure felt good being a Charger fan leaving that stadium on Sunday.

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