CREATED BY BUD LIGHT AND VICE DIGITAL SERVICES
LOU RAIDER is old school. Over the years, he's channeled his artistic passions into the Raider Room – an ever-growing tribute to the team. While he's never actually been to Oakland, every Sunday he sits in the Raider Room faithfully listening to the radio broadcast.
How did you fall in love with your team? What is your first memory around your NFL team?
Oh jeez, I don't remember! It's been so long. I've always liked the Raiders, but I never collected until I met my wife. And after that I started collecting Raiders stuff. But before I met my wife I used to go to Raiders games a lot. I used to go in Los Angeles, also San Diego against the Chargers, and in Anaheim against the Rams a couple of times. It's been so long. I don't know. I just follow the Raiders! I'm sixty-five years old, so I can't really remember when I first started liking the Raiders.
How, when, and why did you start dressing up, collecting, or becoming more than a regular ordinary fan?
Every time I found something that I thought would look nice in my Raider room I would just buy it, then I would paint it. I just kept decorating the room. It's got to be the right color - it's got to be black!
I'm old school
I have little Raiders cards, semi-trucks (two of them), a dragster, and a huge knife that sits on a stand. I've got airplanes. I've got little jets. I have a Raiders bar that I got in downtown L.A. I don't know if the question's answered... I got pins... I've been collecting Raiders pins. The majority of them I bought, but the other things were not really Raiders memorabilia until I made them my version of Raiders collectables. That's what makes my world interesting, you know.
What is your favorite NFL moment or team memory?
Well... I remember when they played the New England Patriots in New England and it was snowing. It was the playoffs and they cheated us, you know. The coaches made a lot of wrong calls and we should've been closer to the Super Bowl, but then we lost against the Patriots. That one I remember. That one, I will never forget!
And then, of course, when won the last Super Bowl with Jim Plunkett as the quarterback.
I remember when I was a little younger we had THE SNAKE... Gosh, it's been so long, and like I say, I'm sixty-five, I can't remember the players' names so well anymore.
What distinguishes you from other fans of your team?
I'm old... I'm old school!
How did you get your nickname?
I just started using LOU-RAIDER every football season. That is just my name, it's what everybody calls me during football season. "Hey LOU-RAIDER!" I just liked it. I have a big Raiders banner and I had LOU-RAIDER sewn on to it. It just has been my name for many years now.
What is your favorite keepsake or piece of memorabilia?
I like the Raiders' keepsakes that I've made the most. There's a Superman. That Superman was a piggy bank from a thrift store. It was the colors of the original Superman and I thought, "Oh, I'm going to get this." Then I found a little jewelry box that was a different color and I painted it and I made it my Raiders stand for my little Raiders Superman. Then I put the Raiders symbol right where his belt is and I painted the back and the front all in silver and black. Then there was a vase that I got. I put those little stickers of Raiders letters on it and then I painted it. There are just a lot of things that I've found. I see something and if I think it would look nice in my Raiders room... I just love everything that's in there. I don't really have one favorite thing. My favorite is the whole room, my Raiders cave.
When did you start collecting / building your fan cave?
Over twenty years ago. Little by little, you know, little by little.
I used to get lots of stuff at the La Mirada Swap Meet where they sell memorabilia of all different sports teams. They had a lot of Raiders stuff there and every time we used to go my wife would walk to the Swap Meet and I'd stay put, because of my bad hips. I would just say, "I want that one, and that one, and I want that." You know, cause we would only go once a year when I had to go see my Orthopedic doctor in Southern California. Every time we went down I'd say, "Honey we got to go there." We went to the Swap Meet and that's how I collected my stuff. My wife wasn't into football at all. She was from Michigan, but she loved me. She really accepted me and helped me out with my Raiders collection because I always liked the Raiders. As a matter fact, she used to buy me collectables.
What is your game day ritual? How do you prefer to watch the game?
I listen to it on the radio on my porch or I watch it in my living room. I always watch it by myself, because my family doesn't live here in South Lake Tahoe and they don't come here to watch the Raiders games with me. I need a fourth hip replacement so going to the stadium is hard for me. I've never been to an Oakland game. That's one thing I've always wanted to do. The last Raiders game my wife and I went to, we only went once, but it was in San Diego. She had to say, "no more", because her ability to walk up the steps was gone. Then there I am with my cane, so we just stopped going to the game. My wife died two years ago, but I want to go to Oakland. I want to do that!
How does it feel to be known by your friends and peers as a die-hard fan?
I have a lot of family that are diehard Raiders fans also. A lot of friends have always known me as the Raiders guy. That was always my team and it still is.
What is the best thing about your team?
It's the colors, definitely - silver and black! That's the way it is, it's always been like that for me! I don't know? I just love my Raiders. That's my team. I've never had another team. I've always loved the Raiders. Win or lose.
All images by Ben Colen.
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