Today at Oakland Raider Training Camp there were about 40 fans who'd prepaid for their 2011 tickets before Christmas and they were treated to an experience that only the VIP's usually get. I know that some skeptics probably got the e-mail from the Raiders and thought, "Yeah right, I'm sure it will be a glorified Raider Nation Celebration and they just want my money up front."
If you fell into this category, you could not have been more wrong.
The fortunate few that were in attendance were allowed complete access to players and the field. In fact, while the press was in their press "box" (A box marked with lines on the field), the fans were allowed to wander around the sidelines and snap photos, even during team drills, which is a no-no for the press.
And to top this off, this was the first full speed practice that I've witnessed this week. There was a fight, some great diving plays and not one player was holding anything back. This was truly THE fan experience.
Art Thoms, Jim Plunkett and many other Raider greats mingled with the fans, signing autographs and posing for photos. Then, the magic really happened!
As Hue Jackson gave his press conference, there were the fans. As the players did some after practice drills, there were the fans. And who was there posing for photos with them? Richard Seymour, Jason Campbell and the rest of the team.
One fan, smiling from ear to ear, had a football covered from tip to tip with signatures. Talk about awesome!
For those of you who are fortunate to be going our tomorrow or at some other point this Summer, you are in for a day that you will NEVER forget. And, for those skeptics in the crowd, who could have afforded to pay for a season ticket last December, have a little more faith next time and the Raiders will reward it.