My friend has spent most of his life sinking in the pee-pee yellow and Iraqi Navy blue spiritual quicksand of being a Chargers' follower. I see him suffering regularly, truly hurting. I feel for him because I care about him. Most other Chargers' followers I can't stand. I could personally put many of their heads in those big table wrenches. But my friend's pain hurts me, and I suffer when I see how his faith fails him so many Sundays.
I agreed with my friend in August when he predicted that his Chargers would be a stronger faith during this year's crusade (but after last year, what wouldn't?) Then things started well for his Chargers, as they did for my wondrous Raiders, God's gift to football, the "pride and poise boys," the only team with a real "commitment to excellence" and signs all around the stadium to confirm it.
I told my friend that he had a "cute little team" this year with "a cute new little eentsy-weensty leader," but such joys would be fleeting because there wasn't much depth in his faith. I offered him a chance to get on board with a real entity for eternity, to get on the Raiders' bandwagon because I had a spot for him right next to me on our trip to glory.
The day I first made the offer I had just read a story in this newspaper about a local guy who had been saved from a horrid life as a Chargers' follower and had gone through the rewarding spiritual conversion of becoming a Raiders' adherent. Raiders' followers even let him into the local Raiders' faith group. The new follower said, as I recall, that he made the switch to the dark side because he saw and felt true devotion and spirituality in Raiders' fans, as opposed to Chargers' fans, who he said showed a shaky, fair-weather weak-kneed, pantywaist faith in their team. (OK, I added the pantywaist part.)
Making such a commitment to become a Raiders' follower takes guts. Not many people can survive the conversion. It involves de-programming, training in several different growls and guttural curses and, in the case of many male Chargers' fans, several injections of male hormones.
Not many out there are up to it, but my friend has the makings of a great Raiders' follower, and without any testosterone shots! He always has a tough guy hairdo, he often has some wacked-out sideburns growing and he's got some great body art. He's also had a couple minor run-ins with the constabulary, plus a couple minor punks have had major run-ins with his fists.
Just like all Raiders' followers the world over started demanding a trade for New Orleans Saints multi-tattooed, flowing blond-locked offensive tackle Kyle Turley after he ripped the helmet off an opponent who had brutalized his quarterback, then threw the offender's helmet about 50 yards and gave everyone assembled America's No. 1 roadway salute, Raiders' adherents who know my friend see him a natural for our faith.
I can almost picture him in silver and black, foaming at the mouth for the bad guys and feeling really, really good about it. I see true beauty in the picture.
I want my friend to see the light now, to convert immediately, because time is short before our deliverance comes. Oh, we may get take a detour and suffer a momentary lapse, and people may mock us for that along the way, but we have unwavering faith that we are heading to the promised land this year, that being the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
We'll all be recruiting Kyle Turley when we get there.