I lost a dear friend today. His name is Ryan Chambers and he has breathed his final breath. I will always remember Ryan for the man he was and the way he battled one ailment after another in his far too short life. He was the most courageous man I ever knew.
I learned many things from Ryan. Never give up, always do what you believe is right, and always smile even when times are tough. His battle is over now, but the lessons I have learned from him will last the rest of my life.
We all will have days like today that both put the weight of the world onto your shoulders while also simultaneously giving you a new perspective on everything else in life that suddenly feels so inconsequential. It seems so selfish to think of anything else in a time like this, yet so many different things still pass through your mind without your control anyway.
As I lay here remembering my friend, I also can't help but think of the Raider Nation as well. Ryan was not a Raiders fan, but even so he was always willing to discuss them with me. He would say what he felt no matter if I wanted to hear it. I appreciate that more today than ever before.
It amazes me how perfectly symmetrical the life lessons that he taught me are to the life of a fan of the Silver and Black though. He didn't know it, but I think he was a Raider at heart too. Never give up, do what you believe is right, and always smile despite the trials and pains we go through in life.
Never give up is something deeply ingrained in all of our hearts. The Raiders have given us so many reasons to give up on them over the past decade, but here we are still loving and fighting for them. We haven't given up and we won't give up, because loving something is more than just loving them in the good times only.
Always do what you believe is right is another foundation for true Raiders fans. It is a building block that Al Davis used to create the Raider image that is so deep within our blood. Forget what other people are saying and fight for what you believe in, it is what Al Davis did forever and it is part of being a Raiders fan to this day and forever more. It is pride and poise within yourself that must be a part of who you are for you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.
Most important is always remembering to smile no matter what it is that you have gone through. No matter how many gut wrenching losses the Raiders have had these past few years we still smile and cheer for every big play, every point scored. No matter the pain that we have gone through, the joy of the moment still usurps our very being every time we hear Greg Papa scream TOUCHDOWN RAAAAIIIIDDDDERS!
Ryan might be gone now forever from this world, but his words I will never forget. He has battled and won far more than this loss, it just so happens that this particular battle is the last one that he was ever going to fight. Just like the Raiders the sum of his wins is still far greater than the sum of his losses. We can remember each lost battle or we can celebrate and remember each win. I will always choose to celebrate the wins.
RIP Ryan. Thank you for everything. I love you.