We Raiders’ fans don’t want much, really.
We want our Harleys to run louder, we want our bars to stay open later and we want our parole officers to be a bit more understanding with us.
And we want the Raiders to beat the Chargers. If the Raiders win both times the two teams play each regular season, well, it may not be better than early release from the joint, but it does make a season close to complete.
Here in the Imperial Valley, where we in the Raider Nation are a minority compared to the legions of Bolts Dolts, two wins over the Chargers in a season gives us bragging rights for a year, including the right to mockingly sing the ever-so-mock-able “San Diego Super Chargers” team song at the most potentially grating moments.
On Sunday the silver and black got its second win of the season over Philip Rivers of Tears and his taunting but terrible teammates, and this one was a beat-down, which meant the party on the Dark Side was on, from Chino to Soledad to Folsom to Pelican Bay.
Frankly, it has been years since we have had such bragging rights, years since the Raiders had beaten the powder blue and tulip yellow. It had been a down several seasons for the Pride and Poise Boys, but the renowned Commitment to Excellence has returned this campaign.
Now some of you Boltheads may say to Raiders’ fans that a 6-6 season thus far isn’t exactly excellence, but before you do, consider that bulge in our Raiders’ jacket pocket might be a Glock.
Despite the tough years, Raiders’ fans stayed loyal to the Greatest Franchise in the History of Sports that has Bounced Between Two Cities for Decades. Unlike Chargers’ fans, we are not on and off the bandwagon with the undulating waves of success. We support the Raiders’ even when we want to kill owner Al Davis, although whether he is actually alive or a wax re-creation at this point becomes increasingly debatable each time he is shown on television.
Yes, neither team fills its stadium on a regular basis, but Raiders’ fans have excuses, including ankle bracelets that go off when we leave our homes, probation restrictions on which homeboys from the ‘hood with whom we are allowed to associate and driver’s licenses only allowing us to go straight to and from work.
Chargers’ fans, however, will skip a game if the sloop is out of dry dock. (I’m such a Raider guy I don’t even know what the previous sentence meant.)
I can stereotype and mock Raiders’ fans because I am one. Those of you who aren’t might want to think twice about doing so, unless you are particularly adept at dodging a shiv.
I have had Chargers’ fans tell me over the years that I don’t look like a Raiders’ fan, to which I respond, “Well, you look just like a Chargers’ fan, if you know what I mean.” They don’t know what I mean, which is the fun behind the statement.
Actually, I’ve been a Raiders’ fan since I was a preschooler, when my dad took me to see the Raiders play the old Houston Oilers. The Oilers stars back then included Hoyle Granger, Garland Boyette and the giant of football and the giant thumb of pro wrestling, Ernie Ladd. But the Raiders stars of the day were even bigger: Tom Flores, Willie Brown, Jim Otto, the guys brawling bloody and bloody drunk in the parking lot.
Since that day, through the good times, the bad times and the recurrent horror movie that was the JaMarcus era, my heart has bled black … and silver. And it has bled a lot in recent years.
But now the silver and black is back, and it’s time to yak.
Bret Kofford teaches writing at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus. He can be reached at Kofford@roadrunner.com