A strange voice is eventually ignored

    When I took the podium at the Guardian staff meeting on Jan. 27 to talk about sports writing, I heard a low voice that seemed to come down from up above, from some being that was looking over me.

    “”Take off the hat,”” the voice said.

    The words took me by surprise.

    “”Why?”” I asked myself. “”Do these other writers I’m about to ‘teach’ really find it disrespectful for me to be wearing a hat at the front of a lecture hall?”” I wondered.

    I quickly figured the chances of that were slim to none.

    Then I thought that maybe it was because they wanted to be able to see my face a little better (I’ve been told that I have “”beautiful brown eyes””).

    And then I realized the actual reason. On my hat was the Raiders’ logo, which — after their Super Bowl embarrassment — looks as unintimidating as a 5’6”, 150-pound linebacker looking to put a hit on a running back.

    It was a shame the way the Silver and Black failed to keep their commitment to excellence against Chuckie and the Bucs, but I’m not going to leave the Raider Nation overnight. I’m not going to take off my hat, like so many other people jumping off the bandwagon, just because my team lost.

    And so the hat was readjusted to make sure everyone in the room took notice, and I began my short presentation.

    Although I don’t hear the Raiders’ theme song in my head when I put on the hat after the loss in Super Bowl XXXVII, I’ll continue to wear it throughout the spring and summer, and wait until next time. (I have a bad feeling that it’s going to be a long wait.)

    It hurts to see a fan put on his “”favorite”” team’s jersey before a game, and then, after the team sputters through a losing streak and sinks in the standings, takes it off and replaces it with the new first-place squad, which becomes the fan’s new “”favorite”” team.

    I’ll wear my jersey during a team’s championship parade through the streets, throughout the race for the lottery pick, and then I’ll be the first one with it on (because it never came off) when the team finally sits atop the standings.

    If I was embarrassed to represent my team after a loss, I would have taken off my UCSD hat a long time ago (and who knows when I would put it on again). But that’s not the case. I have my UCSD hat on today, and I’ll have it on the next time the men’s basketball team gives up a record number of three-pointers to an opponent, and I’ll still have the Triton colors on when, if ever, UCSD athletics becomes respectable after the athletics department figures out that athletic scholarships would be a good idea.

    So while the UCSD Tritons continue to try to build some kind of reputation, the Raiders go through the rebuilding stage that looks inevitable, and most other people are picking a new team to start following, I’ll be waiting here wearing my UCSD sweatshirt and Raider hat.

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