Barbara McDonald and her granddaughter in the Black Hole. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Barbara McDonald has been a season ticket holder since the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995 and her seats have always been in the south end zone. When she first got her seats, she didn't realize that where she was sitting would become the Black Hole. "Well, we bought season tickets the first year we were there and I think the Black Hole evolved," said McDonald. "I didn't know I was in the Black Hole, but I love it."
McDonald has been a Raiders fan since she first moved to the Bay Area. "My friend introduced me to the Raiders and that was a long time ago," McDonald explained. "The first game I came to, I sat in the bleachers and I watched Ray Guy kick. I loved it."
She has followed the Silver and Black ever since she moved, and once the Raiders returned to Oakland, she bought her seats and continues to enjoy game days at O.co Coliseum. McDonald can feel the energy in the Black Hole every home game. "[I love the Black Hole because of] the spirit behind the team," said McDonald. "It's just really exciting. It's totally wrecked TV football for me."
McDonald now shares the Raider Nation experience with her grandchildren. "They started coming when they were old enough to come to football," said McDonald. "Every once in a while, my husband can't go or I can't go and we'll bring one of the kids. The neighbors right around us are very respectful of the kids. We've all been season ticket holders for awhile."
The long-time Raiders fan has many fond memories of the men who have worn and continue to wear the Silver and Black. "I love to watch Janikowski. I love to watch Lechler," said McDonald. "One of my favorites was Jarrod Cooper. They were like bookends – Jarrod and Stu Schweigert. I used to love to watch those guys. My first really big heartbreak was when the Raiders traded Kenny Stabler."
McDonald will be back in her seats in 2012, rooting for the team she has followed for so many years. "I'm looking forward to the whole thing," she said about the upcoming season. "It's always there – hope."