Week Nine: Return of the Freaks

While our own Ryan Davis was cognizant of the significance that Monday, November 6th, 2006 held – the not-so-triumphant return of the Oakland/LA/Sacramento/Irwindale/San Diego Raiders to Seattle for a "throwback" MNF clash - it took a while to realize the effects.

With the annoying giddiness of a woman on her second and “last” wedding day, I willingly accepted, returned, and placed calls to my circle of friends. As all conversations involving myself do, the yet unidentified childhood trauma that demands I be the focal point and acceptance through laughter was the theme. But my jokes, diatribes, and utter nonsense harkened back to an earlier form.

My arrogance and wisdom leave me confident in saying; I have the ability to make people laugh. It’s as natural to me as walking.

Earlier in life, I would coax laughter with jokes only Satan and the cast of heartless, degenerates around me could appreciate. The tone was mean, opportunistic, dangerous, irresponsible, easy and crippling.

Over time, my drugged-up “rebel without a clue” filter of the world – gave way to maturity and the side-effects of weaning one’s self off of every street drug under the sun. With that change, the way in which I made people laugh lessened on the “tell me between 1 and 10” pain scale, to a relatively speaking, 5.

Yet, the morning of the game I reverted immediately back to my earlier self. Spewing out mean-spirited digs at my friends, antagonizing their known insecurities, launching longwinded deprecating speeches, and/or reminding them of failures. The Raiders arrival in town, and the contempt in which I hold them, had summoned my inner-angst.

There are a lot of reasons to dislike the Raiders or the fans.

The “tales” of opposing fans being severely beaten in their stadium. Unforgivable, failed acquiesence to the few Raider greats; case in point allowing a bum like Andrew Walter to defame Plunkett’s #16 and the two Super Bowl rings that he engineered. The tragic regression of a once revered NFL/ AFL pioneer, Al Davis, into a doddering, old troublemaker in a white unitard. Their prideful willingness to collect players that are nefarious both on and off the field. Or as we saw that Monday night, an occasional dirty play.

While all the above are valid reasons to dislike the “Raider Nation”, it runs deeper than that, in my opinion. In our youths, most Raider fans were frightening creatures to behold. More often than not, Raider fans fit the profile of a person your parents told you to avoid. Or a schoolyard bully, a convicted felon, junkie, etc. Metaphorically speaking, they were the Boogiemen, the monster under the bed, a reason to be afraid of the dark.

At some point in life it hits you, there really is nothing to be afraid of. They’re not tough, thug, ghoulish, intimidating, or even threatening. They’re just the “J. Edgar Hoover’s” of NFL fan bases. They like wearing make-up, dressing up, and adorning off-Broadway props.

Whenever that epiphany of unwarranted fear strikes, be it about Raider fans or the monster under the bed, it’s natural to become angry with ones self. And it still does, at least for me anyways. I just happen to harness that energy differently…towards the Raiders and their pathetic fans. Heading downtown, I was more amped than Kate Moss at a Columbian Cartel after-party.

Arriving downtown around 2:45 PM, my accomplice for the night and I headed into Temple Billiards to gauge the Seahawks.net faithful in attendance. It’s also required that any Seahawk.net employee, even unpaid hack writers like myself, arrive and flower the owner, Todd Breda, with odd compliments. I’m not kidding either. He makes all of us do it; passing down our scripted, assigned compliments the Wednesday before any home game.

After blurting out “Wow, Todd! You sure do have above-average oral hygiene”, I was free to unleash the havoc brewing inside. I also wanted thank him, again, for entrusting me with his brand new, never been opened, originally packaged, BECU Poncho - worn by the select few who endured Seahawks Football in the Husky Stadium.

The poncho, in and of itself, separates the true fans from the “Johnny come latelys”. Comparing the fancy ponchos of Qwest to those of Husky Stadium would be like a soldier bragging about his Purple Heart for a foot wound, to John McCain.

While Temple Billiards is usually where I spend most of my pre-game festivities, it’s to somber of an environment for such a game. It worked out well that my friend and I needed to meet the hotshot Financier of Seattle’s elite at The Central, for our complimentary tickets. It was during that walk from 2 nd and Jackson to the heart of Pioneer Square the real fun began.

The mood and atmosphere didn’t miss a beat due to the rivalry’s recent hiatus. The vibe in the square was invitingly tense, inebriated, and could’ve tilted to reckless at any moment. In all honesty, if I had been on the come down from a serotonin-consuming drug, I would’ve wept like Dick Vermeil. It was that beautiful.

On the walk I interjected any Raider-Hawks fan squabbles with, “Oh, come on – have a heart. This is the only way Oakland fans get to see their team. All games, including the road games, are blacked out in Oakland”. Or I’d randomly inquire with a Raider fan why none of them seemed to be wearing jerseys of players currently on the roster.

Within the confines of The Central there were a few meek, somewhat subdued Raider fans acting as they should; seen and not heard. Then, I spotted a man dressed with a black and white Troll doll wig, awful silver and black make up, and a gothic cape and harness getup.

On his first pass, I immediately blurted out “Hey, Gene Simmons is going to sue you!”. His second jaunt in my direction earned him a “your Broadway play stinks!”. And then finally a “Star Trek stinks and so do you – go home you confused, Klingon freak.” The best part was he had nothing to say back, sitting idly by as an entire bar had good chuckle at his expense.

Another Raider fan later in the evening tried to steer into the skid of my Gene Simmons comment, by stating “get it right, it’s Ace Frehley”. To which I replied, “I don’t have time to separate poser rock bands, Stupid.” And that’s pretty much how it went on the street and in the stadium until about mid-way through the second quarter, when a confrontation almost arose.

Within the section to be named later, there was a portly, Hispanic, Moss jersey wearing, individual loudly rooting on his team. Displaying oddly theatrical, preplanned reactions to his team’s performance on the field. Simply put, he was just a harmless rube who may have had a few too many. He would’ve remained at that, had he not begin to assume my shots and commentary on the Raiders were directed at him personally.

“Blah, blah, blah, blah!” he shouted in my direction. “I’m not talking to you”, I replied. “Blah blah, blah, blah, blah, knock it off!” he stated trying to show a phony bravado or street cred. “No, I’m talking to the team, sit down” I reiterated.

And then, this cornball, caricature of a man backed himself into a corner only a rookie would by stating, “you want me to come over there and make you knock it off?” “Sure Huckleberry. Come on over, peaches” I replied.

You could tell that this guy assumed I would back down, taking his girth as muscle to flab. And so with hesitation, he began his forced saunter over my way to avoid looking like a sissy.

When he arrived over to my seat I don’t recall what he was saying. All I knew that by the look in his eyes, he was afraid and would’ve preferred a hug to a physical confrontation. I told him two or three times my comments weren’t directed at him. Which eventually allowed him to save “face” by smiling and laughing dramatically so his buddy could see everything was okay.

The guy was a buffoon who didn’t even get a spike of adrenaline out me, even though my adrenaline had been “on call” that whole evening. All I can say is I hope that guy finds the hug he’s looking for and heeds Dean Vernon Wormer’s infamous advice; “fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

Oh, there was a game too. I scoured the internet for fan reactions, and am now republishing them for you as if they’re my own.

  • Thank you Mike Holmgren for committing to the run last night. I’ve been screaming to myself for weeks that regardless of the back, they need attempts to get going. Maurice Morris isn’t a great back, but he’s not horrible either. The second half of the Rams game and the Raiders game showed all Morris needs are attempts to “pop his collar”.
  • Another benefit of rushing the ball is its ability to refocus an offensive line. I’ve never once heard an offensive lineman say they prefer pass blocking to run blocking. These are big, beastly, monstrous men that get more out of hitting the man across from them than back-pedaling 30-40 times a game. If you run the ball more, the line will get better – it’s that simple.
  • While he may have missed a few reads, for the most part Seneca Wallace proved what everyone else in the country already knew, but Seahawk fans didn’t - he’s a NFL QB. The fact that he’s studied under “God’s gift to QBs”, Mike Holmgren, is only going to increase the interest of other teams this off-season.
  • One of my NFL inside sources confirmed to me that current Oakland Raiders Offensive Coordinator Tom Walsh was Art Shell’s second choice. His first choice was another man who’s known for owning/operating a Bed and Breakfast, Bob Newhart. At least Newhart would’ve thrown in some dry irony.
  • A “who cares?” is my response to Jerramy Stevens’ antics on Monday night. I mean seriously, so what if he’s trash talking? All NFL players are so psyched up every game day it’s stupid to assume such things shouldn’t happen. It’s football, not golf. Besides, it’s the first swagger I’ve seen from any Hawks player in a few weeks.

Mule Sniff

Groucho Marx once said that the laugh-track would be then end of comedy.

It allowed television stations to bombard all of us with what they defined as comedy, without bothering to see if anyone was laughing. Eventually, that ideology bled into movie studios, leading to the current parade of garbage were asked to consume. Giving us the horrifically overrated stylings of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Dane Cook, etc.

All hope was lost, until this weekends release of “Borat!: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” The film will revolutionize comedy and cinema, as we know it. Sacha Cohen’s brilliant acting, comedic timing, and heroic shunning of political correctness standards will challenge others.

Although I’ve been partaking for some time now, Sacha Cohen gets an uncomfortably long sniff from me this week.

Thank you, sir!

Throat Punch

This week's throat punch goes to section 339, and lets just say rows “R” and below for anonymities sake.

These pompous, uptight, fun-draining, fans stunk! Any time one of the four “invaders” to their haven would stand, blurt loudly, or make any commentary these “fans” would stare with contempt. Worse than that, they had the sense of humor only George Will could relate to.

I watched in amusement as many of them would get up to complain to an usher, security, Howard Lincoln, anyone. I know the drill. Security would ”inconspicuously” visit the section, remaining in the shadows, to gauge the severity. But since none of us were cursing, confronting anyone, or drunk there was nothing that could be done.

I was so embarrassed for all of them by midway through the third quarter, I frequently reminded them to complain by dialing “* 12”.

It didn’t surprise me when one of them snobbishly asked, “Where’d you get that poncho?”

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