Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The opinions expressed here are my own.
My Uncle Kiki (or Sal Camarillo as he’s known on Facebook) was one of my idols when I was growing up. He had this mysterious air about him and the whispers of adults spoke of the army, Brown Berets and other things which I’ve never asked about or confirmed. He was gone a lot when we were little, but when we did see him, two things were certain – Raiders and the time and care he’d spend with us kids. Uncle Kiki was an artist and would spend hours coloring with us and showing us how to use tissue paper on our crayon work to get softer looks in our art. He told us stories and most of them had to do with the Raiders. Every year, religiously, he’d don silver and black and settle down to watch the games. When he had his own family, he was around more. He instilled upon us and his own children, a fierce loyalty and passion for those guys in silver and black and we cheered them on every year.
My beloved uncle had his share of tragedies, he survived a brutal stabbing that left him almost dead and in the hospital for a very long time. He survived that only to have a car accident in 1977 that left him a C5-6 quadriplegic.
I remember visiting him in the hospital and seeing the halo that held his head together. His hospital bed was covered in silver and black, of course. Like most people in my family, he is incredibly strong-willed. Tough as nails, but with the gentlest of hearts. Not expected to live, once again, he pulled through. Not expected to walk, he forced himself onto a cane and still, while it is brutally hard for him, manages the cane once in a while. Art, that creative process he loved, was gone for him because he doesn’t have the hand control for holding those pastels. Still, his fire and determination gave him other outlets for his passions. He is a staunch supporter of indigenous rights and if you’re a friend on Facebook, he’s sending you the news that has anything to do with that community. If he could physically manage the trip to Oakland Coliseum and could afford it, I know he would wheel his chair to every game – that is some serious devotion. Heck, he’d probably crawl, and he wouldn’t care in the slightest if he had to put his stuff in a clear bag. All that would matter to him, was that he was making the pilgrimage to cheer on his beloved team.
From 1982 to 1994, the Raiders were OUR team. They played in L. A. and the Angeleno Raider Nation breathed silver and black. For my Uncle Kiki and the rest of my family, they will always belong to us. The small fact that they call Oakland their home now means absolutely nothing to this family of Angelenos. When we love, we love fiercely, with passion and utmost devotion. Such is our devotion to this team, no matter where they are. They are family, embraced and loved, they have seen us through love, life, tragedy and joy. We cried like jilted lovers when they left us for Oakland, but remained madly in love.
When football season nears, we gather round and cheer them on as they have unknowingly done for us. We try to give them strength by sheer force of will and their mere presence on that field in those glorious colors have sustained us over decades and I am sure, went a long way to my uncle’s healing. If you go to any of my family’s homes or apartments one thing is certain. We’re Raiders fans clear and true. In fact, the words that get said every day like a litany with us is “Raiders for Life.”
The NFL, since the bombing in Boston, has instituted a new bag policy and have taken the time and trouble to be clear, all clear in fact. They’ve not only instituted safety measures by requiring clear bags, but have taken the time and care to explain all the particulars on a dedicated url. I know some women will want to take their purses and it’s true, we carry a ton of stuff, but I think we all want safety and for myself, if it means carrying a less than cute bag where everyone can clear see my stuff, I’m okay with that. I can’t imagine the devastation if one bomb got through because it was tucked away in a purse. Ladies, we dress differently for every occasion, so this should be no problem. I know when I attend an NFL game to see my beloved Raiders this year, I will be dressed in silver and black, with my a clear handbag that I can buy directly from the NFL with the Raider logo on it. I confess I might decorate it with just a hint of silver and black glitter. My Uncle Kiki will expect nothing less than than for any attendee to comply with the policy of our team and the NFL. As a survivor of a brutal attack himself, he appreciates the safety measures the NFL is taking. The NFL banned coolers and backpacks back in 2001, so they are not being discriminatory against women at all.
I invite you to discuss this new policy with me via comments, Twitter, Facebook, etc. There will be a Twitter chat with The Online Mom team this Wednesday, August 28th from 9-10 p.m. ET/6-7 PT wherein they will address concerns and questions and try and fill everyone in on the new policy. I would love to chat with you there, please RSVP and join us using the hashtag #NFLAllClear.
Go RAIDERS! Oh, and Jean Parks…the Pats are sooooo going down. This girl is part of the Raider Nation.