Some fun with a little Raiders on the side

Hey everyone. I was hoping that you all could help with a little mediation in the form of 2 answers. I have a theory that nearly every diehard football fan has their own colorful superstitions and game day traditions birthed into existence for the sole purpose of giving their team just a little good will to maybe eke out a win in a tough game. My lady friend, Kat, believes me to be a lovable yet thoroughly insane football fan made delusional from my own personal "football freakiness." She has challenged me to prove my theory by asking some "real diehard fans" (insert her exaggerated eye roll here) to describe the ritualistic routines or superstitions you adhere to.

She is looking for honest answers. If you do nothing special at all, she wants to know that too, so later she can formulate the percentage of the insane Raider fans compared to the sane ones. She is also politely asking that your responses are not disrespectful and that you please try to refrain from posting X-rated stuff. R is fine - she's no angel - but if you claim your pregame ritual is a threesome with the hot twins from down the street, she does not want a detailed description and will assume you are lying anyway. (Personally, if you are having threesomes with hot twins before each game, you are my new hero). I have assured her that Raider Nation is a community based on mutual respect and a shared love of the Raiders and we only act like animals on game day. I have also been asked to add the disclaimer that "I am in no way trying to influence anyone through my perceived membership in the aforementioned Raider Nation community, nor do I have any knowledge of a "boy's club mentality" ever being prevalent on this website at any time." Sheesh, women.

#1) What, if any, superstition-based traditions do you observe on game day?

#2) If you wear a team jersey on game day (and I know that you do) whose jersey will you be wearing for the first regular season game and do you think your jersey choice could possibly make a difference?

That's it. Thanks to all who have answered or plan to answer. All that follows now are the ravings of a mentally deranged whack job who believes in flying cows and magical poop. That is how Kat describes it. I feel it necessary to tell you that the remainder of this posting offers the reader absolutely nothing of substance. Instead, it is merely an explanation of why I am asking you the questions that may, in turn, give you ample fodder to hold against me at a later date. We are writing this together (if you can call her snide remarks and lame witticisms writing) and we are laughing and having a lot of fun with it. Other than myself, she is one of the funniest people I know, If you decide to continue reading hopefully you will find yourself as amused as I am. Perhaps it will cause you indigestion. The reason I am even throwing this out there is that I have seen a few people on this site get pretty uptight over posts that served up some fun with a little Raiders on the side. I have witnessed one guy get seriously angry.over what he perceived to be the intentional theft of his precious time, because the post he had just read should have never be written. And Kat thinks I am crazy! We do not wish to incite anger, cause indigestion, or get blamed for making you so upset that you went to your neighbor's house and peed on their dog's food dish. I can say for certain that the rest of this post relates to Raiders football from a ritualistic perspective, and on a slow news day, I always take what I can get. Just don't say I didn't give you a heads up. And for god's sake, don't forget to grab the Tums just in case.

I have been dating Kat, a pretty cool chick, for the last four or five months. Oh. It would seem that once again I am wrong. I have just been informed that it is now gong on the 6th month. Am I the only one that find women to be oh so adorable when a man's inability to know the right answer forces these sweet bundles of superior knowledge to HAVE to correct us. I am so one of the lucky ones! She loves football, so already she gets a pass. As completely unbelievable as this is, Kat is not a fan of the Raiders. Instead she is a longtime fan of the Seahawks. I figure its all good. The Hawks are no longer in the AFC West and we have agreed that bashing the other person's team is a personal affront to our right to make our own individual choices. Uh yeah, Kat. Mostly its just mean to insult a person's team, unless of course, that team is in the AFC West. and their team name doesn't begin with the letter R. Then its just a good time. Despite having no love for the Raiders and a mouth that lately has been flapping like Kermit the Frog on crack, I am allowing her to hang out with me anyway because I am a truly forgiving man. That and also because she just bought lunch and I wouldn't feel right putting her out without getting dessert first. Growing up with a HS football coach for a father and 2 college football studs for brothers, Kat has a pretty impressive grasp of the game along with an extensive knowledge of football. Sexy, eh? Like I said - she's a cool chick.

So earlier in the week we got into a really good in-depth conversation regarding the little things that a player might unknowingly do on the field that may seem completely inconsequential at the time, yet later you find out it changed the course of the game. During the conversation I apparently blacked out because I do not remember specifically claiming to have some sort of supernatural ability that could alter the outcome of a football game being played on the other side of the country, but it seems that I am a forgetful person and am quite full of myself. Actually, I most definitely DID NOT claim to have special powers. I merely confessed to having a pregame ritual that I follow before every game. And yes, I do want to believe that some inane superstitious game day tradition just might be the difference between a win and a loss. Ok, its not very likely that is going happen. But my effort and desire to send good mojo, still makes me feel like an integral cog in the machine. Kat, on the other hand, holds no belief in any manner of other-worldly interference that may alter an ongoing situation through sheer desire and/or a sprinkling of elven glitter, and she furthermore refuses to participate in silly voodoo superstitions until someone teaches her the pin-sticking technique to work her JuJu doll, Isn't her ability to showcase herself as having the far more balanced mind such a wonderful gift to bestow on the world? Sigh.

I believe there are million of fans in the world that employ their own versions of magical wishes and gumdrop rainbows. Do any of them work? I cannot honestly say with any confidence either way. Weirder shit than that happens all the time. Now, Kat not only thinks I may be a bit overly fanatic about the Raiders, but she also believes that I am a total "whack job." For the record, Kat tells me that the term means I am freaking bonkers. To me it sounds and appears to mean something quite different, and after voicing my concern aloud, she tells me to get my mind out of the gutter. If whack job means anything other than insane, someone please let me know.

So a week has passed and she is still spewing crap - asking to borrow a tablespoon of fairy dust or wanting to know what the appropriate attire is for meeting my genie. She even went so far as to drop a handful of tea leaves in my toilet with a message written on the mirror saying that the "tea leaves predict a crappy season for a team already in the toilet." I actually thought that one was pretty funny and my bathroom did end up smelling mildly of oranges. As I previously mentioned, we have agreed that we won't bash each other's team, but that does not keep her Kermit the Frog mouth from flapping tirelessly. I am so over being asked if I have found the mysterious bastard child of a 4-leaf clover and a rabbit's foot, which she claims could only be some sort of mutated furry plant. When I try to politely explain that almost every diehard fan I know has some sort ritualistic tradition during the football season she just laughs at me. She said me and "a handful of other whack jobs does not magically include every diehard fan."

Kat tells me that in fairness to the situation (and for her later amusement, I am sure), I must give you all a chance to judge my mental state by disclosing my "football freakiness" in this forum, describing it to you all just as I described it to her. My game day routine is quirky, but it is not comprised of anything overtly insane. On game days, at 30 minutes prior to kickoff, I go into what I call Mojo Mode. I bust out my mojo box and start placing team items around the room. i cover my Lazy Boy with a fleece Raider blanket. I put out the team pillows. I line up several team ball caps on the stand below the TV. The caps may be changed out or moved around in order to optimize the mojo I am trying to send to the team or to steal as much mojo from the opposing team that I can. I put on my Raider slippers and don a jersey that is chosen based on factors pertaining to some aspect of the week, game and/or opponent. I absolutely will not crack the first beer or touch the snacks until the opening kick-off is completed. I will only leave the game room during commercials as I do not ever walk away while the game is being shown on the screen, and NOBODY is allowed to talk during the televised portions of the game, unless it is to talk about some aspect of the game itself. Inside my mojo box I also have some random Raider stuff - pennants, Topps cards, a Raider gnome, etc. - that I may or may not place around the game room during the game in the hopes that a strategic location in the room, might allow the offense to convert a 3rd and 12.. After the game everything Raiders that wasn't already in the room prior to Mojo Mode, gets packed back up and does not come out until 30 minutes before the next game, giving each item maximum time to achieve a full mojo charge. Dang. Seeing it all written out does sort of lend a little validation to Dr. Kat's diagnosis.

I know its all silly, but I have fun with it and as this will be my 20th season with my mojo box (back in the day I called it my smashmouth kit). I simply cannot just walk away from 20 years of game day tradition, even if it is just a foolish waste of time. Having said that, I do sort of place a fair amount importance on game day jerseys, ESPECIALLY the first regular season game. That jersey choice must be chosen carefully as it may possibly effect the entire season (please notice that I said possibly. I am not entirely deranged). At this time I have 13 different jerseys with 6 matching (home and away) There needs to be a logical reason behind the selection of a particular one, no matter how trivial the reason might be. Kat says that clicking my heels together 3 times is equally logical, and is curious if I ever tried that. Nice one, Kermit. At this point I have narrowed it down to 2 options. And yes, picking out "an oufit" to wear 2 months early could be construed as crazy. It might also just be brilliant gamesmanship. If Flynn is named the starter against the Colts in week 1 as we all expect he will, I will be wearing my Gannon home jersey. If, however, Pryor or Wilson starts instead, then I will rely on the mojo power in my Howie Long away jersey. I have my reasons for whittling it down to these 2, and I know that whichever jersey I choose, it will have no bearing on the outcome of the game or the season. I do not practice voodoo. I don't cast spells or sacrifice chickens. But the little stuff I do...its fun, its tradition. and maybe, just maybe it may have already caused some subtle changes.. Last year, I wore McFadden for game 1 and he ended up with a piss poor season nobody saw coming and another injury. Now don't blame me. It wasn't my fault Dmac stunk up the joint, it was Knapp's play calling mixed with the ZBS. But I cannot help but wonder what might have happened if I had gone defensive and wore Lester Hayes, the other jersey I was considering for the season opener? I'm just saying...

So please nation, help a brother out. I think my superstitions are endearing and some day might magically be the catalyst that sends the Raiders back to the dance. Ok. Apparently I am dangerously close to breaking the "no influencing" rule laid out in the disclaimer, so I will just ask you to please be more weird than me. Thank you.

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