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Football's Blackest Hole: A Fan's Perspectiveby Craig Parker
Synopses & Reviews
TAKE THIS SUPER BOWL AND SHOVE IT.
At least that's what Oakland Raiders' fan Craig Parker thinks.
A card-carrying member of Raider Nation, Parker adds a new chapter to the written history of the Silver and Black. Writing from the too-often-dismissed perspective of the dedicated nut.er, fan, Parker gives voice to the hopes, fears, prejudices, and fantasies of not only the usual suspects in the Black Hole, but also of the ordinary folks at home on the couch.
Against the backdrop of the nearly triumphant 2002 season, Parker gloats over victories, agonizes over defeats, and exchanges insults with opposing fans (The Denver Donkies?). He recounts in detail the greatest wins in Raider history, and provides imaginative-but sincere-excuses for the biggest losses (The "Immaculate Deception"). Ever the paranoiac, he explains Raider Mystique and the rule changes adopted by the NFL to counter it. Boston Herald sportswriter George Kimball states: "Parker, in any case, writes very well, has a sharp eye for detail, and remembers more than just about any sportswriter I could name."
From Parker's viewpoint, Raiders football is not just a game; it's a way of life. Family loyalty is the cardinal virtue: respect Al Davis, love all current Raiders, and honor the memory of the past. Parker maintains an edgy, but positive attitude throughout the book. He extols the Raiders' dedication to excellence, their emphasis on teamwork, and their amazing ability to overcome adversity brought on (mostly) by forces outside the organization. In Parker's world, even in defeat, the Raiders honor the game of football-and their dedicated followers.
This book is a must-read for Raider fans, as well as other football fans seeking comfort in numbers. It justifies being a fan. It reminds us of our darkest thoughts, our wildest fantasies. It brings back the glorious past, and it raises our hopes for the future.
"This being football season, if you are a dedicated fan of the Oakland Raiders, you will surely enjoy Craig Parker's Football's Blackest Hole: A Fan's Perspective ($16.95, Frog, Ltd., distributed by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA). Written against the backdrop of the nearly triumphant 2002 season, Parker lets you share all the joy of victory and agony of defeat as he recounts the wars between the end zones. As Boston Herald sportswriter, George Kimball, says, "Parker, in any case, writes very well, has a sharp eye for detail, and remembers more than just about any sportswriter I could name." Of course, for Parker, it's not just a game, but also a way of life. Anyone who loves football like Parker does will thoroughly enjoy this book. And you will learn more about the Raiders than you ever thought possible!" Alan Caruba, Bookviews.com
By October, of course, the attention of a lot of sports fans has been diverted away from the diamond and toward the gridiron instead. For those who prefer touchdowns to home runs, Craig Parker offers up "Football's Blackest Hole."
This first-time author's approach is not as accessible as Thiel's: To put it bluntly, those who aren't football fans need not apply.
Frankly, it helps if you are rabidly pro-Raider. Parker, although hailing from Olympia, has forsaken this region's Seahawks football franchise for the Oakland, Calif., team, which has a reputation for being the baddest of the bad.
The book begins inauspiciously with a rambling introduction by Boston Herald sports writer George Kimball and moves into a first chapter that juggles rants, reminiscences, obituaries and statistics. A stronger editorial hand would have been welcome here.
The book settles into a more readable groove when Parker launches into a game-by-game, play-by-play analysis of the Raiders' 2002 season, which led all the way to the Superbowl. His insights are attentive to detail and incisive, and he produces some wonderful turns of phrase.
When all is said and done, "Football's Blackest Hole" is unlikely to make any new Raider converts, but it evinces such passion for the Silver and Black that it ought to be a hit with those who already are card- carrying members of the Raider Nation.
The Bookmonger is Barbara Lloyd McMichael, who writes this weekly column focusing on the books, authors and publishers of the Pacific Northwest. The Olympian Sunday, October 26, 2003
Opponents across the National Football League rightfully dread playing the Oakland Raiders on their home turf in the Oakland Coliseum. There in the thunderdome affectionately known as the "Black Hole," 60,000 rabid fans from "Darth Raider" to "Blackbeard" await to raucously cheer their beloved Raiders to victory. In Football's Blackest Hole, Craig Parker, a card-carrying member of the Raider Nation, shows why Raiders football is a way of life for fans across the globe.
The first die-hard fan to tackle the subject of the Silver and Black, Parker recounts the trials and tribulations of the bittersweet 2002 season when the Oakland Raiders almost won their fourth NFL Super Bowl. Recollecting both the memorable highs and the forgettable lows, Football's Blackest Hole is written by a fan for the Raider faithful. Parker looks his kinsmen straight in the eyes, their bond a common obsession: respect controversial team owner Al Davis, admire all current Raiders players, and honor the glorious memories of the franchise's hallowed past.
Coming from the unique perspective of the dedicated sports fanatic, Football 's Blackest Hole is humorous, insightful and pulls no punches. To Parker, the Raiders have inspired historic fear and loathing throughout the NFL, cultivating a renegade reputation for their "commitment to excellence" and disdain for the rules. Driving Football's Blackest Hole is Parker's admiration for the Raiders' dedication to Davis' mantra "Just win baby," their emphasis on teamwork, and their amazing ability to overcome adversity.
Self-proclaimed the winningest team in professional football, the Raiders have long cultivated a fascinating "outsider" mystique. Their "pride and poise" philosophy has defined the Hall of Fame careers of players such as Gene Upshaw and Howie Long to Tim Brown, and embraced respected coaches such as John Madden and Tom Flores. Read this entertaining and timeless romp and learn why rebellious athletes and swashbuckling fans alike will forever bleed Silver and Black.
About the Author
Craig Parker was born in Forks, Washington, raised in Aberdeen, and graduated from the University of Washington. He lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife and daughter. This is his first book.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter One: VERITIES
Chapter Two: LIVIN' IN THE PAST
Chapter Three: PRESEASON
Chapter Four: 2002: FIRST QUARTER
Chapter Five: 2002: SECOND QUARTER
Chapter Six: 2002: THIRD QUARTER
Chapter Seven: 2002: FOURTH QUARTER
Chapter Eight: 2002 PLAYOFFS
Chapter Nine: PROLOGUE
Appendix A: PLAY OF THE GAME
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