Voice of the Fans
Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 06:52 AM CDT
Contributed by: AllyOop
Contributed by: AllyOop
The Raiders Are Within Us
It is a very difficult time to be a Raider fan. Everything regarding our Silver and Black universe is in doubt, from the future of the team to the legacy that Al Davis has left to us; we are like a ship out at sea whose helm has been unmanned, and seemingly even abandoned, for far too long.
Even the concept of the Raiders, everything the team has stood for and has represented for so many glorious years, has fallen into disrepair and to ridicule. What used to be known as a team to be feared has let itself lapse into a sad, pitiful shell of its former greatness, to where we all look and wonder what happened, searching for where it all went wrong.
Al Davis, the man to whom we all, without exception, once looked to as the unmistakable face of this team, holds on to only a thread of his once dazzling ability to lead and to win. He has become a prisoner to his own frailty and to time, the one opponent no one can ever defeat, which has brought him to his knees. He is like a great ghost, haunting the hallways and corners of the home this team once dared anyone to trespass within. Reaching out with still a commanding presence, he nevertheless wields so little power over his house and the state of affairs of his kingdom that he may as well be nothing but a whisper.
We as fans of this fallen organization wander aimlessly. We remember fondly the times when it still mattered to be a Raider, when the pride still burned fiercely. We yearn for the days of power Raider football and to be standing on top of the piles of our battered foes. We long for the times when we were certain that our Raiders, even in occasional defeat, would always play with a passion and a ferocity that reflected that distant strength and that indomitable will to win that now seems so withered and forgotten.
Yet what we fail to realize is that the core of that strength, the unfailing will that has always cemented us fans together as a worldwide force, is not gone. In fact, what remains of the greatness of the Raiders lies not with those who currently wear the uniform, and, sadly, not even with the man who started it all, but rather within each of us. We are unconquerable and we are timeless. The pride and camaraderie of us the followers of the greatest professional sports team of all time is something that transcends all generations, will not bend or break under the weight of change, and cannot be undone by the many years of petty revenge and retaliation at the hands of the National Football League and its leaders who have committed so strongly in an effort to destroy the one who exposed them, who defied them at all odds, and who dominated them despite their best efforts to resist.
Al Davis gave us this willpower. He set forth a design, a vision which not only his athletes, but also all those who found strength and honesty in his unbiased, single-minded will to do nothing more than to win, and to do so with earnest and with collective passion, instinctively followed and found inspiration in. That vision will live long past his own time and into the distant future of whatever this league somehow turns out to be. Some day we will have to continue on without him, but that tradition that he started is as timeless as the concepts of sportsmanship, competition, and pride in one's work that drove Al Davis as a young man and carried him well past anyone else's predictions. Players calling themselves Raiders will come and go. Men and women associated with the team, best intentions aside, are always interchangeable and will never outlast the times and the machinations of corporate desire and circumstance. What can and never will diminish or disappear is that which is inside each and every one of us, the fans: the Raider soul.
What I know is, if you are reading this, you are a Raider yourself. Do not let anything or any one cause you to forget that. Al Davis knows his fans wait. He knows that we will carry on the tradition when he no longer can. Remember why you became a member of this organization and keep that tradition strong. It is up to us to maintain the legacy of what he built by not yielding to discouragement or defeat as fans. They cannot take away the truly greatest aspect of being a Raider: you and I; our love for each other and the vast collection of all of us in our myriad different forms and diversities. We are stronger than they. We will endure.
The Raider Nation will never die.