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Cross that one off the Bucket List — A Trip to see Raider Nation in action

Bruce Fuhr
By Bruce Fuhr
November 28th, 2016

Some readers may wonder as to why The Nelson Daily would publish an article regarding a National Football League game in Oakland Sunday.

Well The Nelson Daily owner/editor Bruce Fuhr was in the Bay Area during the weekend to cross a couple of items off the Bucket List.

As a long-time Raider Nation inductee, Fuhr thought while he was there he’d give a hands-on view of the atmosphere of a business that dominates the USA every Sunday, with a couple of satellite days on Thursday and Monday.

Here we go.

Game preparation begins days before actual event.

South of the 49th parallel team followers flock to sporting outlets to purchase their favourite team’s garb. I follow the flow grabbing a new Raiders hat for the game.

I already have tons of other clothing, including my Los Angeles Raiders sweat shirt I packed for the game.

And on the streets of San Francisco, where I stayed for the weekend, were flooded with Raiders fans, 49er believers and many other NFL teams.

Sunday, the streets, public transit and highways were flooded with fans attending the game — close to 60,000 of my new person friends, give or take a few Carolina Panthers supporters sprinkled into to the stadium.

North of the 49th parallel, from coast to coast, sports fans were celebrating everything Canadian about football as Ottawa and Calgary clashed in the 104th edition of the Grey Cup.

South of the 49th, what Canadian saw Sunday is a ritual that occurs in most US cities from September to February.

“We’re here every game, every season to tailgate,” Oakland native and long-time Raider Nation supporter Gary said from the front row of the tailgate party a few hours outside the Coliseum.

Gary not only takes tailgating to a new level, but gets right into the game action with a full costume, including face painting prior to the game.

“This is a full-meal deal, every single game,” adds the 6-foot plus giant of a man who could probably suit up on any of the lines for the Silver and Black.

The Oakland area native said he started dressing up for Raider games in support of Fans Against Violence.

Any why does he get up before sunrise to get to the gate a full hour before the 8 a.m. parking lot opening?

“Because this is part of our culture. . .. This is so much fun sharing food and drink with my Raider friends.”

“For most of us this is basically Sunday dinner for all of us because this is our family.”

Some people have heard of the rise of crime south of the border. If so, there was none of that at the game as fans dressed in the Silver and Black High-Fived each other before, during and especially after the game as the Raiders rallied after a third-quarter collapse to win the game in dramatic style — ending on a Khalil Mack sack and fumble recovery of reigning Most Valuable Player Cam Newton after Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski kicked the game-winning field goal.

Then the almost 60,000 fans trekked outside the stadium for the more than two-hour wait to head home on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

Not at all an inconvenience. Fans simply recanted the game from every angle, dissecting the third quarter when franchise quarterback Derek Carr injured his pinky finger, which forced him out of the game for an offensive series.

Of course, many in the know realize the past decade has not been a banner time for the Silver and Black. The struggles have been well documented as the franchise has been mired in the bottom of the league.

But Gary sees it all, wins and losses don’t matter. Tailgating at Raider games, as well at any other games in the US, is an institution.

“Honestly, it’s the same . . .  but with a lot more smiles,” he said. “Even when we were 3-13 everybody was wonderful they were all having a good time out here.”

Okay, I’m done.

Cross that off the Bucket List.

Next up, a trip down under. Hopefully, there’s an Aussie Rules game to check out.

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