Dear Kendra and Alexa,
Beyond the heroics on the field, and say, a Super Bowl victory, why a young fan takes to any one football player is a mystery. A personal attraction.
In Oakland, the capitol of Raider Nation, the years I was a kid there we had everyone from the Black Panthers, the Hell's Angels, the Zodia Killer, and Charley O. Finley. And, we had the Raiders...
Your father, with his left-handedness and those two bad knees, displayed a permanent smile of bemusement that said -- win or lose -- "ain't this fun?" I really did see in him the honor to be found in playing the game, of using one's god given talent, of taking pleasure in the effort.
That Ken Stabler came from the likes of Alabama yet played right there in my home town helped me understand the variety found in the USA. Using a pair of pliers to change the channel on my busted kids TV (it had a few knobs missing) I would tune in sand Diego to see your Dad play, or Shea Stadium to see him take on the Jets -- learning that if you were good enough you could do your thing wherever you wanted.
I'm honored to wear the fine bit of Stablerwear you sent along and will continue to offer up to anyone who comes my way, and maybe just asks how I ended up where I am, that you just have to throw deep, baby...