Sporting Events

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Various stories of sporting events I've been to. You'll notice a high number of Raider games, both home and away, as I've been a season ticket holder since the Raiders moved back from LA.

Preseason, August 14th, 2015 - NFL: Raiders vs Rams

2015 was a great year to get back into feeling like you had a legit team with the Raiders. With young and up and coming offensive threats like, Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray, the Raiders were fun to watch this year. Plus, preseason is a great time to bring the entire family, so I'll also share a photo of us all sitting in the Black Hole here.

Preseason game #1 started things off right with a win over the Rams. Ok, granted it's the preseason and we're talking field goals and limited time with the first team on the field. But, it was a win, it was the start of the season and it was great!

May 16th, 2015 - MLS game: Seattle @ Vancouver

Getting back to documenting various sporting events I've attended, this one has to have the most interesting method of transportation to the game. It all started... as a bachelor party, where we wanted to do a short 2-3 day cruise. Lo and behold, we find a cruise from SF to Vancouver Canada that drops us off about 2 hours before the Vancouver Whitecaps game. We booked it. After some delays in customs (that's another story), a taxi ride, quick drop off of luggage and a 15 minute walk from the hotel to the stadium, we made it to the game!

The Whitecaps play in BC Place stadium, which is really cool both in overall look as well as location. I didn't have too much of a preference for who won, other than wanting to cheer alongside the local fans. Unfortunately for those local fans, Vancouver lost the game to Seattle 0-2. One highlight for us was sneaking down to the supporter section and making some new friends who were sitting just a few rows off the field.

August 3rd, 2013 - NFL: Raiders Training Camp in Napa

Per my email from my season ticket rep: "Congratulations Kevin! You and a guest have been scheduled for the 2013 Raiders Training Camp practice for Saturday, August 3rd at 2:30 p.m."

Oh ya!!

Just a quick post here to share how fun it is to be able to go to a training practice for an NFL team! The fun is really about the event itself, interacting with other fans, watching how a practice works, how close you get to be to the field, the casual atmosphere of getting to chat with Raiders staff and the chance to get some autographs from players. Good times!

Week 10, 2009 - NFL: Raiders vs Kansas City Chefs

The Chefs were coming into Oakland as a team with a worse record than the Raiders. Raiders were favored as well, which has not been often this season. With not much going for us, it seemed like this would be our best chance for another home win this year. My buddy Steve from work was going with Lauren and I for the game and we told him we were hitting the road at 8am, so be at my house before that. I believe my call at 8:07am woke him up. Somehow we still manage to pick up some supplies at Safeway and get on the road by 8:30. Tailgate was solid. We’ve really been stepping it up lately in the parking lot. Have to make sure to get maximum entertainment value in the lot, since the entertainment value inside the stadium has not been that solid. Beer pong was rolling. KB and I won three consecutive matches, representing as the Chico team. Steve and Golf Cart Kelly were our final opponents and I’d say they gave us a close match... but that wasn’t the case.

The game was actually fairly close with both offenses not able to do a whole lot. The fans continued the boo’ing of JaMarcus Russell. I remember thinking he wasn’t playing that ‘bad’ this game, but then looking at his stats, 8 of 23 for 64 yards, I’m not really sure what I was thinking. Gradkowski came in and it looked like we actually had a chance. Down by 6 and driving in the final minutes of the game. However, a tipped ball ends up in KC’s hands and that sums it up. A loss to the Chefs. Ouch. For the first time ever, I did go up to section 304 in the south end zone. (I’m in section 107). My friend Amber was at the game and sitting up there with her crew. Pretty interesting perspective seeing the game from up there. Although I’ll definitely be keeping my seats...

For the record, I also attended but didn’t write about:
Week 1 opening Monday night game vs Chargers. Close loss.
Week 3 vs Broncos.
Week 7 vs Jets. Yes, I miss the win against the Eagles the week before and end up at this horrible game instead.

Oakland Raiders 2009 Preseason Starts!

Ahhh, it’s a beautiful thing... football season begins.
This seasons first home game is on a Thursday and I obviously made sure I’d have the day off work. The game started at 7pm, which made it pretty nice to be able to sleep in and relax a bit before heading out of town for the drive to Oakland. Lauren and I also were going to make this a bit of an extended weekend and following the game were heading to Los Osos to go camping with Aaron and Alissa. So that Thursday morning, we spent a bunch of time getting all the camping and Raider gear all piled into the car and didn’t get out of town until around 2pm. Not sure how I always forget this, but heading to the bay area for an evening game on a weekday... well... sucks. Traffic. So that delayed us about an hour and made getting into the parking lot a bit harder than it should have been. Why? Well, because Chris had our season parking passes on him and he was already in the parking lot. And the more time you give anyone in the lot, the less likely they are going to be able to hear the phone ring and be willing to walk out and drop off the passes to you. So, I somehow managed to get an officer to allow me to park up on the sidewalk just outside the main gate and Lauren ran in to use the bathroom (her main priority) and find Chris with the passes (my main priority for her).

Anyway, finally got in, saw all the old buddies, KB, Hashem, Mike, Meeker and others as well. Beer Pong was rolling, Chris added some new paint/designs to his car and the season was under way! I made a point of going in early, since it was preseason and all, I wanted to make sure to see the opening drives where the starters would be playing. The first drive or two was not all that bad and it included a field goal. And... amazingly... things improved as the game went on. Everything looked clean. We were playing as a team. A mix of short and long plays and we were moving the ball. I don’t want to make too much of a preseason game, especially the first one, but it really looked like an improved team. Dallas didn’t really do anything to impress. Final score, Oakland 31 Dallas 10. Awesome! A few of the guys left the stadium right at the start of the 4th quarter to get the tailgate party rocking again. And Lauren and I left just a bit before the end of the game (yes, sacrilegious, I know), but instead of joining the party, we headed out to drive 4 hours south to Los Osos. And now the camping part of the weekend began...
Lauren looking tough in the Black Hole:

Week 1, 2008 - NFL: Oakland Raiders vs Denver Broncos

Well, it’s taken me a few days to even really want to write about this past game. For a few days now, I’ve tried to come up with some sort of positive to walk away from. And the only one I could really come up with is “Maybe the Bronco’s are the best team in the league this year and so of course they slaughtered us”. However, I think that’s not really even close to the truth.
Okay, let’s back up. Monday night game! Pretty sweet way to start the season. And earlier in the day I was pretty happy the game didn’t start till 7pm. Meant I could still work a few hours in the morning before I had to start the drive from Chico to Oakland. Ended up getting to the parking lot in pretty good time, around 4pm. 3 hours to tailgate, I thought I was doing pretty good. Well, I was pretty much the last person in our group to actually show up... and well... one of our buddies in our same Black Hole section has a connection with mini liquor bottles. You know, the kind you get on airplanes? Anyway, the parking lot was scattered with empty mini plastic bottles by the time I got there. Good times. The rest of the tailgate was pretty fun. The theme was sheep shots. Which I’ll pass on going into more detail on. We were left alone for the most part from parking lot enforcement on things like ‘music too loud’, ’someone standing on the roof of the car’, etc. We also had a huge turnout of regulars, including Stephanie, an ex-Raiderette we’ve known for years. Beer pong table was setup, but didn’t get that much use. Did some good grilling, I went with the basics, a cheeseburger. All in all, a good solid tailgate to start off the season.

Then the game started. It’s kind of one of those moments where things are going really bad, but it doesn’t quite sink in right away. It seemed like our offense was gaining a little speed, but they just needed more time. Like... any minute now it’s going to kick in and fall into place. So you had that hope for the first quarter or so. The problem was that every single time the Bronco’s got the ball, they seemed to score quickly and with ease. Over and over again. I actually just now went and looked at the box score. The score was only 17-0 at halftime. So, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought the first couple of quarters? Oh, no. Look at the drive log. It’s bad.
Denver’s possessions:
First half: TD, punt, FG, TD, punt
Second half: TD, FG, TD, TD, end of regulation
Final score: Denver 41 - Raiders 14. We stayed until the very end. The crowd was at least half gone by this point. The only positive to that was that it meant it’d be pretty easy to get out of the parking lot.

May 2nd, 2008 - NHL: Western Conference Semifinals, Sharks vs Dallas Stars

My buddy Aaron is a huge Stars fan. His story goes something like this: “I was working late night shifts and when I came home from work there was always a hockey replay on ESPN. This happened to be the year the Stars won the Stanley cup in 1999 and I followed them through the entire playoffs and loved every minute of it.” He gets the question quite a bit, considering he lives in Southern California.

When the Sharks and Stars were scheduled to play each other in the second round this year, I knew that both Aaron and I needed to go to one of the games. It didn’t look like we could make it to games 1 or 2, so it looked like game 5 in San Jose would be the one to go to. After three games and the Stars with a 3-0 lead it suddenly looked like we may have missed our chance. Luckily the Sharks pulled out game 4 in Dallas and the series moved back to San Jose. I picked up two tickets on Ticketmaster as soon as they went for sale to the public on Thursday morning the day before the game. Aaron’s wife wanted to go to the game and my wife, Lauren, was sort of indifferent about it. Unfortunately Ticketmaster only allowed 2 tickets per person so it was going to be impossible to get 4 seats together. I still bought the two on Ticketmaster and then searched Craigslist for 2 seats as close as possible to mine. I ended up finding 2 one section over from ours and went for it. $160 a piece, not too bad. We were just offset from the net, facing a corner of the ice in the lower reserve seats. Great seats!

I think Aaron was one of about 5 Dallas Stars fans at the game. Not a lot of jeers from the crowd, which was a little surprising. More people looked at his retro Stars jersey and asked him if he liked the Chicago Bulls. Hmmmm. Anyway, the Sharks started off pretty slow and fell behind 2-0 after two periods. But with their playoff life on the line, they came out in the third a lot more aggressive and tied it up, sending the game to overtime. 65 seconds into overtime the Sharks score and the series continues!

We checked out the club area after the game and I picked up a hockey puck commemorating the Conference Semifinals. We walked downtown after the game to get something to eat and the line of people walking received a continuous amount of honking from cars. Seemed like the town was pretty pumped about the win. This was Lauren’s first hockey game. And her words after the game were: “Hockey is my new favorite!” She loved it. She did complain a few times about the silliness of the shark chomp and wasn’t a fan in general of the sharks logo. She actually joined Aaron and his wife in cheering for the Stars. But, what do you do? At least she likes hockey.

NOTE: I've attending many, many, many more sporting events, including numerous road trips to go see the Raiders play (Lambeau Field, Kansas City, Denver, San Diego), Bay Area Baseball games as well as some Spring Training games in Arizona, Warrior games, XFL games for the SF Demons (yes, this really existed) and I'm sure others I'm forgetting. Someday... I'll have to go back through all my ticket stubs and post some pictures. For now, you've got a scattered taste of a few of my sporting events I've been to. It's all part of my passion with sports and wanting to track stats and bring you!