Usually for people in Alabama, Saturday’s are for football. But once football season wraps up, our friends from Forest Gump’s home state usually go into a deep dark depression. That’s not the case for our next Guest Post author who decided months ago that he was ready to jump aboard the VGK bandwagon.
This Guest Post comes from Cameron Cole, and like The Creator, he’s not thrilled about the Raiders coming to Vegas.
I have always loved the idea of being a fan of a team from Day 1. Every day I would Google “expansion team” or “relocation team” and read all the rumors and such. But I also wanted the team to be the right fit. I live in Birmingham, Alabama, which probably causes most of you to automatically think football. Yes, that is our state’s main attraction as we have 2 teams who play in the best conference in the NCAA (just let me have this for now, we can debate it another time). We also have a minor league baseball team the Birmingham Barons. In April 2016 I googled NHL expansion and SinBin.vegas came up. It was one of their amazing podcasts (which if you have never listened to you need to start ASAP) in which they talked about how Vegas was getting a team and Quebec City was not. I knew that there wasn’t a major pro sports team in Vegas then so I decided to do some research about the history of pro sports in Vegas.
I found that Vegas and Birmingham have almost identical histories in the sporting world. Birmingham has had an XFL team, a CFL team, and an Arena football team. Vegas has had an XFL team, a CFL team, and an AFL team too! So I was like I was looking at Birmingham in the sports world! Then it happened, the NHL was officially expanding to Vegas, so I instantly became a fan of the Las Vegas NHL team (which we know now as the Vegas Golden Knights). It was the perfect fit. Over the next few months I learned hockey and have watched a lot more of the Predators and read every SinBin article they put out…Then the raiders talk came.
At firstI thought, there’s no way the NHL would ever actually do this, then last week it was almost unanimous that in 2020 the Raiders would move to Las Vegas. So has an out of town fan I really sat down and thought about the move and how it affected my fandom of the Vegas Golden Knights. They were no longer the only team in town. They were no longer the biggest team in town. I read article after article about the move and one thing really made me upset. How the City of Las Vegas reacted to this. They put Raiders signs all in front of the famous welcome to Las Vegas sign. They had pictures with Raiders gear and a holding a Raiders football helmet. Which is perfectly fine if you gave the same reaction to the FIRST team in town. The team that paved the way for the Raiders to even begin to think about relocating to Vegas.
So what should the Vegas Golden Knight organization and fans do? Some say support the team, some say ignore them. There’s also the extreme, who say they should tell the Raiders off and create a rivalry with them. I think they should embrace the Raiders, but never let them forgot who was here first. A Raiders/VGK partnership could do wonders for attendance and fan support. Imagine Raider night at T-Mobile or a promotion where if you bought a ticket to the Raiders game you could get a Golden Knights ticket half off. That would definitely get some Raiders fans thinking “why not go watch a hockey game?” And if I’ve learned anything in more short time following hockey, once you see it, you’re hooked.
If I’m being completely honest though, the Raiders put a massive dent in my “dream fit” fandom of the Golden Knights. There’s another team in town now, and for me, the fan from Birmingham, it takes a little shine off the Golden Knights shield. The Raiders, the NFL, and all that comes with it is not synonymous with Vegas, not even a year after the NHL came to town.
But I, just like all Golden Knight fans, should always remember, and never let the team from
Oakland Los Angeles Oakland forget… The Vegas Golden Knights were here first.
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