Photo Credit: http://www.raider-dna.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/blanda-lamonica.jpg
This post may not make sense to many people outside the U.S. (and perhaps not even to many people outside my age and geographic demographic), but the recent passing of Al Davis, renegade owner of the Oakland Raiders American football team got me thinking. I wasn't a big fan of Mr. Davis, but I still had a strong reaction to news of his death. After wondering why, I realized something about myself that I didn't know before. I am a big sports fan, and the first team I ever followed was the Oakland Raiders. I hadn't realized before that the Raiders really mark the beginning of my life-long passion for sports. So, in conjunction with Shimelle's Ten on the Tenth posts, here are ten memories of the Oakland Raiders.
1. As a little girl, watching football with my father. It seemed important to him that I pick a favorite team, so I picked the Raiders. And I fell in love with the cast of characters, most of whom played in the late 60's and early 70's.
2. George Blanda, the Quarterback. Old, grey, distinguished. I think he reminded me of my dad.
3. George Blanda, the kicker. Yes, the same man. He'd throw for a touchdown and then kick the extra point. Or he'd kick a field goal. How cool is that? He continued as a kicker long after he stopped being a quarterback. Not surprisingly, he was the highest scorer in the NFL for a long time.
4. Daryle Lamonica, the mad bomber, quarterback following George Blanda. That's the two of them up top.
Photo credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_BJN9yiDLRQA/TLIN-SQrXqI/AAAAAAAAAPU/U_7bXKS-VMI/s1600/Football%2520NFL%2520-%2520Campioni%2520Fred%2520Biletnikoff.jpg
5. Fred Biletnikoff. Most awesome wide receiver. Ever.
6. Kenny "the Snake" Stabler. Quarterback after Lamonica. You can't make this stuff up.
Photo credit: http://product.images.fansedge.com/76-02/76-02907-J.jpg
7. Ray Guy. Revolutionized the role of punter. He looks like he weighed 110 pounds soaking wet, but boy could he make that ball fly!
8. Art Shell. First African American head coach in the NFL's modern era.
9. Jim Plunkett. Mexican American quarterback. And he went to Stanford. Talk about walking right through stereotypes.
10. Silver. Black. That pirate logo.
Where do passions begin? Are they with a person before birth? Or are they born and nurtured by experience? I don't know, but for me, one started sitting on the sticky Naugahyde couch next to my dad, watching a flickering black and white TV set. Thanks for the memories, dad, and for starting my life-long love of sports.