Tag Archives: Oakland Raiders

A View of Obama and America

Barack Obama addresses a huge crowd in 2008

Barack Obama addresses a huge crowd in 2008

President Barack Obama was elected by a mandate by the people of the United States of America in November 2008.  Clearly, people were ready for the changes Obama assessed the country needed.  Now, we’re complaining.

I had a family member once upon a time that, no matter what happened, she would complain.  If she were to receive a million dollars, she would complain about the taxes.  If she were to wake up one morning thirty pounds lighter, she would complain that she had nothing to wear.  We have become a country of that same person.

Change is painful.  Change is scary.  Change, for America and Americans, is necessary. 

When will we get it through our short-sighted, fear-riddled brains that what we’ve been doing for the last several decades is not working and we must fix it.  The economy is in the gutter, our health care is suffering because of the insurance companies’ insistence on higher and higher premuims nearly no one can afford, and our culture is becoming more violent and full of crime.  What will it take for us to dig in, in the way our forefathers and foremothers did to elevate themselves out of the Great Depression?  Where is our work ethic?  Where is our warrior spirit?

crowd-hugeThere is no dirt under the fingernails of those who are doing the complaining because they want everything handed to them without doing the work.  Is that who we’ve become?  That is not the energy that built our country in the first place.

It’s time for us to understand that nothing in the world is going to change the fact that we have to rework our economy, our health care system, our criminal justice system, our sense of unified culture, and our access to the entire American dream, no matter what labels others give us,  if we want the changes we voted for a mere ten months ago. 

Already, we’ve seen our place of respect in the world rise to levels we haven’t seen in at least nine years.  We’ve seen white collar criminals going to jail for duping the American public.  We have been exposed to truths about which we had suspected for many years about our government.  These are all good things.  These are the events that will transport us farther toward our goal for an open government, a new vision, and unified action.

Oakland Raiders fans have the right idea.  No matter what their team is doing, they stand behind the organization.  They disagree.  They get angry.  They hope for better.  Ultimately, however, they remain part of the Raider Nation.  When a new leader comes aboard, they always have hope for a brighter future.  Perhaps, as Americans, we should stand behind our Red, White, and Blue, the same way Raider fans stand behind their Silver and Black.  

long roadTake a deep breath, America, hike up your collective skirts, and get ready for the long road ahead of us in correcting the errors of our past.  President Barack Obama can, and will, get us there.  I know it.  The challenge is that he cannot do it alone. 

He will require our help.  We must raise our voices in support and unity.  We must challenge what we think is wrong in a dignified and respectful way.  We must never let our drama overshadow our need to change. 

Change is not coming.  Change is here.

First Down and Wonderment

Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders

As a man reared in the mountains of Northern California, listening to the trains roll by at the bottom of the hill, accompanied by the gurgle of the Sacramento River where we so often fished, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that I like football.  After all, I am a guy.

Although I was reared on cultural music, like  jarabes on my mother’s side, and “Jak czybko mijaja chwile,” on my father’s, American football and it’s accompanying fight songs, were as common in my alpine hamlet as mountain biking and snow skiing. 

Most people don’t know this, but I have a letterman sweater from my high school displaying a Block “D” with pins for both football and basketball.  O.K., I admit, it was for being the manager of the teams and not playing either sport.  The sad truth is that when I attended Dunsmuir High School, I didn’t know a first down from a circus clown.  I always got confused about which direction the teams were supposed to run.  For these reasons and many more, it was a good thing I was running the concession stand during the games or playing in the band.  And, contrary to popular belief, I never wanted to be a cheerleader.

Fast forward twenty years to the day I met my future husband, David, a devout, and I mean that in the most religious way, fan of the Raider Nation.  I realized early on that Dave took sports, particularly Oakland Raider football, very seriously, indeed.   Even when it comes to his hair color, David never allows anyone to call his hair grey; it’s silver and black, which, I suppose if one squints, that’s exactly what it is.

In my attempt to avoid joining millions of football widows and widowers, I discovered that I had to learn about football.  I’m college educated.  I’m creative.  I figured there had to be a way to figure this football thing out.  Of course, my constant questions in the beginning drove Dave nuts, but, as I explained to him at the time, it’s either the questions now or hours of distance between us for years to come.  It took him awhile to decide which, to him, would be preferrable, but lovingly he chose to answer my questions.

As we began watching tonight’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, we both silently hoped that this would be the year things would begin turning around for the Silver and Black.  After eleven years of discussing defense and offense with David, recognizing patterns and plays, and being able to identify the positions on the ball field, I realized tonight that although I’m no expert, I am comfortable watching the game with my husband.

Scrutinizing the Raiders tonight, under the official guidance of new Head Coach Tom Cable, after half a season as interim coach, I’m wondering, with a a 31-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys, if this is an omen of the year to come.  I couldn’t help but be impressed by John Marshall’s work as Defensive Coordinator with the team in their surprising ability to make clean plays, limiting the Dallas offense at every turn.   There were several new additions to the roster that looked like promising talent.

For a team like the Cowboys that made it so far in last year’s playoff games, this win over them was a testament to the new focus Oakland is making to turn their gamemanship around.  The Raider plays were tough, tight, and cohesive in a way we haven’t seen for a long, long time.

While JaMarcus Russell did a respectable job in the first quarter given his issues with timing overall, the team was still stymied with a 3 to 10 score at the half.  Up-and-coming quarterback, Brice Gradkowski showed in the later quarters that he could hold his own as he connected with running back Darren McFadden for a 45 yard gallop at the end of the first quarter.  And, it all got better from there.

Still not believable?

Still not believable?

By the end of the game, the Raiders were on top 31 to 10.  It was some of the best news the Raiders organization has had for many years.   Not only did we see a great score at the end of the game against one of last year’s playoff teams, it brought us hope that the coaching staff, team players and organization are ready to usher in a new era of success. 

Of course, only time will tell.  We’ve seen hopeful preseason games in the past that led nowhere.

I suppose that in a marriage, both people change.  I’m talking football and David said, just today, that he wanted to see the movie, “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”    I can’t do anything but smile.

Now, let’s talk about the Sacramento Kings.