The Oakland Raiders are a unique franchise in professional sports. Aside from the Yankee pinstripes, no other uniform envokes the franchise like the Raiders. The colors silver and black are synonymous with the Raiders and can be seen throughout the world. Their fan base even has a nick name that emphasizes their overarching reach, the Raider Nation.
When my girlfriend asked me one day, why it was that the Raiders fan base was known as the Raider Nation, I told her it was because you could be in any city across the United States and still find Raiders fans. Because unlike most professional sports franchises, the Raiders are more than just their geographic region.
This past weekend, I went on a trip to Seattle Washington, and was once again reminded of the immensity of the Raider Nation. Now I have traveled a lot and seen Raider gear everywhere, but in recent years, the only trips I have taken were to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, both locations where you are accustomed to seeing Raiders gear due to their stint in Los Angeles. My trip to Seattle reminded me of how LA and LV are the norm, not the exception.
In the spirit of the Raider Nation, I always wear Raiders gear when I travel and it did not take long for someone to notice. Almost as soon as I stepped off of the plane in Seattle, an airport worker called "Go Raiders!" across the terminal to me. When I got on the shuttle to the rental car location, the driver let me know that he was a "Jim Plunkett guy". Throughout the weekend, I had people recognize and celebrate my Raiders gear. From the tour guide at the Theo chocolate factory, to other tourists also wearing Raiders gear, to the TSA agent who checked my ticket as I was heading back to the Bay Area and who let me know that he had been a Raiders fan since the time of George Blanda.
It reminded me of when I took a road trip through Europe and ran into more than one person wearing Raiders gear, but who did not even speak one word of English. The Raiders are a unique franchise that have an almost magical quality. No team is represented world wide like the Raiders, which is why no other team can legitimately call their fan base a nation. There is only one nation, the Raider Nation.