Steve Munoz with his mom, Maribel Munoz.
I will never forget when my parents introduced me to the Raiders. I was about five years old. My parents, Raiders fans since around 1980, gave me a leather Oakland Raiders Jacket. I would always wear that jacket and watch Raiders games on TV with my dad and mom.
The year the Raiders went to the Super Bowl I was 10 years old. The Raiders lost, and I was so mad that I cried myself to sleep that night. The next day was the first time I picked up a football. I was still mad, so I let out my frustration on the field, and I played really well.
I grew up watching Raiders games with my mom and dad on television. I never went to a Raiders game, not even to Oakland. Even though I was born in Los Angeles, we moved constantly and never had the chance to attend. My parents worked really hard to save up money to go watch a game, but growing up, our family was not in the greatest financial situation. But watching on the TV with my family was always great.
One game I will never forget, however, was the Raiders vs. Jets game on October 19, 2008. It was my 17th birthday and I spent nearly all summer saving money to attend. A week before the game, my dad told me that my mom had thyroid cancer for the second time in her life. I was devastated. I love my mom and I couldn't believe it. He also said that we were not going to be able to go to Oakland because we needed the money for her surgery. As much as I love the Raiders, I knew it was right to use that money for my mom. She had always been there for me, now it was my turn to be there for her. She went through surgery and she fully recovered.
I didn't end up going to the game on October 19, my birthday, but my family and I watched the Raiders come back and win on Sebastian Janikowski's 57-yard field goal in overtime. Generally, I would have loved to go to Oakland and watch the game sitting in the "Black Hole." However, I got an amazing birthday present anyway - my mom's cancer was gone and the Raiders beat the Jets in an amazing game in overtime.
This year, I will try going to my first Raiders Game, although living in Provo, Utah, makes it pretty hard. I know one day I will attend a game in the "Black Hole" and cheer on the Raiders, with my dad, Guillermo, and my cancer-free mom, Maribel Munoz.