Make sure you play this before you read on!
Its final prep day. You set up all of the food, barbecue, tools, utensils, tables, Raider gear, flags, canopies, everything you can need to get you through the experience of your first Raider Tailgate session. No matter how hard you plan, you have no idea what you are in for. Let me fill you in.
Tailgating with the nation is nothing you will experience. I have been to San Diego, Philadelphia, Washington, Kansas City and Denver, and there is no place like the Oakland County Coliseum, (except for here in LA when they were a part of this community).
If you want to tailgate earlier then anyone, my suggestion is to find someone in the 66th Street Mob, who parks just North of the Stadium lot off 66th and Coliseum Way. They are really cool people and typically are set up Saturday Night! Early party is the best.
Your trip to the North lot on game day will bring you a host of different personalities from the Nation who you have seen on TV. From Gorilla Rilla, who wanders the Lot in search of the perfect Corona and dance party of Roger and Zapp, More Bounce to the Ounce, to the South Parking Lot with the Violator roaming looking for the die hard fans with his entourage to give you the perfect picture opportunity.
The Raider Nation of course if more then just these two individuals, obviously, because it consists of regular fans who also follow the team with just as much die hard passion as anyone else. They are the rest of the people who you see in the lot along side of you, having a great time and appreciating the opportunity to be there as much as you.
Your entry time depends on where you park. At 8:00 AM, the gates open and the experience begins. You need to be sure of where you are seated as a walk around the stadium can take up to 10 minutes prior to game time. After around 9:00 AM, the flags are flying, the barbecue's are fired up, the music is blaring and the footballs are flying down the concrete playing field 30-40 yards, with all of the dreamers pretending to march the Raider Offense down the field for that Super Bowl winning drive, if they just had that one chance!
Enjoy this time, as you interact with the fans around you. Shake hands, exchange Raider Game memories, but more so then that, enjoy the experience and soak it in.
As you get closer to Noon, many people have started to close down their canopies, the fire pits start to go out and white smoke fills the air. You have some that go just to experience the Nation in the parking lot, never with the intentions of actually going into the game as they have their DirecTv Sunday Ticket set up watching the games. Always good to keep up with the division and the rest of the NFL if you're not as interested to go into the Stadium.
As you make your way into the stadium, be ready as the anticipation begins to fill into your chest. The roar of the crowd can be felt in every muscle fiber of your body. The smells of the concession stands fills the air and has taken over from all of the great food the Nation has cooked up in the lot. You're about ready for it.
As you scan your ticket and pass through security, close your eyes, because you are about to enter the place you have always dreamed about. The place that you see on TV, but can never be compared to in person. You are about to enter "The Black Hole"!
As you enter the stadium, you will see small openings from the tunnels that lead you to your section and seat. Peer through them as you walk by and see the other 60,000 fans of the Nation in a Sea of Black. As you come up to your section, enter the tunnel and come out onto the field, the full scale of the stadium comes into view. You're there, finally. The sweet noise of yelling brethren fills your ears. The team finalizes warm ups and comes back out onto the field, YOU'RE HOME!!!!! It's Game time!!!!
Enjoy the game and remember to leave all you have their on the field as the 12th Man!
PS......Watch out for the Seagulls, and leave me some of your game experiences. If you're on FaceBook, post pictures!!!!!