I'll never forget the first time I saw those silver and black jerseys. I was 7 years old and it was the beginning of the 2001 season. Before then, I was never a huge football fan but would occasionally watch the Niners games with my family, which out of my entire 20+ extended family members, I am the lone Raider. My dad turned on the Raiders game just to watch Jerry Rice in a new uniform for the first time and I instantly fell in love with the mystique of the silver and black. The following Christmas my parents, probably against their will, bought my first Woodson jersey along with a Raiders football and blanket.
What a time to become a Raiders fan. Besides the tuck rule and the blowout Super Bowl back to back years, I was lucky enough to watch my Raiders in the playoffs for the first two consecutive years I was a fan. (7 year old bandwagon right??) Little did I know that I wouldn't get that opportunity for another 14 years. I could go on about all my favorite players and games during that time, but we've all seen them. What drove my passion the most throughout that decade and a half of disaster was my endless backing of my Raiders in the daily discussions with all my Niner friends and just like my family, I was the sole Raiders fan of all my friends. It started with innocent nonsense on the playground to extremely heated arguments at the lunch tables in high school, which is when the Niners went on their playoff runs with Harbaugh. I never had much to back my arguments besides an 8-8 "highlight" year in 2010, yet that didn't stop me from defending my team.
Now that the tables have FINALLY turned, it deeply pains me that we are on the brink of moving out of Oakland, only twenty minutes from my home in the East Bay. Still, like I hope most fans will, I'll continue to bleed silver and black no matter where we go. Let's get a ring or two on our way out.