by Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor
I’ve been a Raiders fan since the mid-1970s, when the team was comprised of renegades with nicknames like Snake, Assassin, The Mad Stork, Tooz, Old Man Willie, Ghost and Dr. Death. Since then, I’ve reveled in Super Bowl highs and suffered through years (and years, and years!) of agonizing lows. And from the moment I swore allegiance to Raider Nation, I made it my goal to see a Raiders game in person.
Some 40 years later, my goal finally became reality.
Why did it take so long? I’m not fully sure. I was a little wary of traveling to Oakland. I heard horror stories of people going into the city and never being seen again. I read accounts of people being mugged right outside the Oakland Coliseum. Also, all of my friends followed other teams, and the idea of dying while traveling alone in a dangerous city didn’t appeal to me.
Then, in March of 2014, my best friend in the world passed away from cancer. She was the person I always thought I would grow old with, but suddenly she was gone. It took some time, but the cold realization of how short our time on earth really is convinced me to live my life with more urgency. I sat down and put together my own bucket list.
Guess what item was No. 1?
Nov. 9, 2014. Finally. I found my seat at the Coliseum (third row, 40-yard line) and looked all around me. This was awesome. I picked a great game, too, as the Silver & Black were hosting their most despised rivals, the Denver Broncos. “This is going to be so good,” I thought to myself.
And it was. At least for a little while. Oakland led, 10-6, early in the second quarter.
Then that jerk Peyton Manning went to work.
Long story short: The Donkeys won going away, 41-17. Manning went off for 340 yards and FIVE touchdowns.
Understandably, I was disappointed. But I knew it could happen. The Raiders were young – starters Derek Carr and Khalil Mack were rookies – while Denver was in “win now” mode. Overall, I left the stadium feeling satisfied that I had at least witnessed my first NFL game in person.
Here are some photos from my 2014 trip:
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