With the way the Raiders have been playing lately, I was hesitant to hydroplane down the freeway to watch them play the Browns whose glory days occurred back when people went to sock hops and said “Daddy-o.” But there is a reason we are called diehard fans. Sometimes it’s, well, hard.
Another reason I went was the Daily Republic asked me to write a story about Cleveland Browns linebacker and Rodriguez High grad James-Michael Johnson.
I didn’t go down to the field pregame like usual because it was soggy and slippery and when a big ol’ (5 foot, 16 inches) guy like me loses his footing, people don’t catch you, they get the heck outta the way. With my binoculars I saw Marlon Wayans on the sideline trying to navigate the mud and high-five Raiders fans, but it’s not like he’s Keenan Ivory or Damon, so I stayed put.
To take my mind off the onfield horrors of dropped passes, blown coverages and sacks during the game, I played mental “Name That TV Timeout Tune.” I came up with “War Machine” by KISS, “Runnin’ with the Devil” by Van Halen and “Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard. My brain game was mildly entertaining until whoever is in charge of the music played “It’s Tricky” by RUN-DMC which reminded me of the Raiders’ hobbled running back, The Injured Darren McFadden, and depression set in.
I then joined other writers and the statisticians in the press box in an impromptu game of “Who Can Yawn The Most?” Suddenly, Carson Palmer hit wide receiver Rod Streater in stride for a 64-yard touchdown that electrified (shocked) the crowd and made it a game.
That momentum was short lived when the Raiders turned it over and then gave up a 94-yard, 14-play drive resulting in a Cleveland touchdown that felt like getting slapped in the face in super-slow motion.
To get my interview I went to the Brown’s locker room. Now, I well remember going to the Raiders locker room for the first time and feeling awe for 6 seconds before the reality of naked men and nasty unmentionables flung everywhere grossed me out.
It was worse in the visitor’s locker room which is smaller and I couldn’t find James-Michael Johnson’s locker so I had to look around for him among a bunch of naked Browns players. Part of me wanted to shout “RAI-DERS! and “BROWNS SUCK!” but most of me wanted to live.
So tonight it is the Broncos. I am a diehard fan (see paragraph one), but I am starting to dread game days the way I dread stinkin’ locker rooms.
Reach Fairfield Raider fanalist, part fan, part journalist, Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org