Raider fans can be divided into two loose groups*.
You have your deluded fools – know them by their seemingly bright but actually dead-from-never-having-lived eyes - and you have your weary fatalists – jaundiced, hollow of eye, with a keen sense of the absurd and the tragic and a propensity for passing dark comments concerning the soul-crushing shuffle toward grim death that passes for life.
If you’ve ever trudged down the cycle way and through the tunnel in the bush out the back of Bruce stadium to return to your freely-parked car after a rude loss in what was most probably just one in a spirit-sapping string of rude losses you will know them, this second type.
Few who have stared into the void can resist the lure of anarchic, mounted-curb parking**. Something – or everything - about it attracts the jaundiced fan while the perky optimists who have never seen into the abyss or screamed into the sky hand five dollar notes to men in hi-vis vests for the privilege of parking in an orderly and easily accessible fashion.
If you don’t attend Raider home games, and quite frankly who can blame you, the delusionals are still easily identifiable. Just follow the Raiders on Facebook and scroll through the avalanche of comments that appear after every post. Like most breeds of idiot they are not shy about making their presence known.
I think this is the year for the Raiders. Go Raiders. Mack us proud boys. Goo the green machine! 2013 here we come. With Berrigan back we can’t loose!
I have nothing against delusions. Some of my best friends are delusional. But the reality writ large on a brightly lit screen can be jarring if your nerves are at all raw. It is for this reason that I suggested several Raider fans I know start filing their nerve endings in February. I did not know that Josh Dugan would run sharply afoul of coach Furner after only the first round and have his $650 000 a year contract most probably evapourate in a dramatic swirl of pre-mixed liquor and profanity. I praise Jesus that I didn’t know either because no amount of nerve-filing could have prepared them for this and they would have rotted out with the weight of it.
So when the Raiders announce their round 1 team lineup on Facebook and they’re missing three of their four spine players and are without a goal kicker and several hundred people who are blind to weird and volatile realities post comments like GREAT SIDE and WE WILL CRUSH THOSE PANTHERS LIKE ANTS - there’s that one guy who writes “we’re fucked”.
Well, guess what? He was right. We really are fucked.
And you know what else? We kind of like it that way.
*Please note that I am ONLY talking about Raider fans here. Do not assume that fans of other troubled clubs *coughCRONULLAcough* have the same or similar characteristics. For example, it is my understanding that fair portions of the Shire’s population have been inspired to go out and get commemorative Sharks neck tattoos this last week, rendering them eternally ridiculous. No, they are a team with their own unique problems and fans, and just as Germany is a country now forever stained in our collective consciousness by a string of poorly-received 20th century wars and related unpleasantness, so too are the poor Sharks. It’s all very unfortunate but then show me something in this world that isn’t.
**Because everybody knows that the way you park provides clues about your essential character. Like when George Costanza compares parking garages to going to a prostitute: why should he pay for it when, if he applies himself, he can eventually get it for free? Yes.