Raider Fan Lonell Easter, aka Pop Raider
Lonell Easter and Derrick Easter are among a number of Oakland Raiders fans who add excitement and delight to attending Raiders games.
My name is Lonell Easter but mostly everyone calls me Pop Raider.
I was born in Newport News, Virginia and lived downtown until I was about three years old. I am the oldest of six children and my mother and father had two sets of identical twins. I was one and my other sister was also one but we lost a twin from both sets, at a young age. To say the least, we had a humble beginning in life.
My parents sent us to live in York County, to be raised by my great aunt, and I stayed there for most of my young adult life. In the fourth grade I took an interest in football. Due to living in the southeast, the teams to watch were either the Baltimore Colts or the Washington Redskins. I never liked the Skins, so I preferred the Colts but the area was predominately Redskins followers.
When I got to middle school my friends would always talk football. The teams they liked were the Redskins, Cowboys and Steelers. Once I was asked a question: "Who was my team?" I would say I look at the Colts but that was about it. No passion at all. Just to have something to say.
Until late one Sunday afternoon and it was the Raiders vs. the Niners in a preseason game. I was so intrigued with how the game was being played, with late hits, penalties, and fighting, etc. I was not sure what to make of it but the Raiders were as bad as bad could be and I liked it a lot. I couldn't but help love the ruthless style of play but there was one giant of a player who sealed the deal for me. This player was Otis Sistrunk, No. 60. He had his helmet off and was sweating with that mean look on his face.
At that time I didn't know he had ties to Norfolk, Virginia and that he played briefly for a semi-pro team. I said to myself, the Oakland Raiders is my team.
So now I had something to tell my friends on Monday but I caught grief when I shared that. I only knew a few players at the time and looked kinda dumb but I have now been following them since 1972 and that's how the love affair started. I felt like the only Raiders fan in my school but I didn't care about any other team. As I got older, my other brother and cousins began to follow the Raiders as well. People were trying to say, "How did this happen?" We kept repping them. When the first championship came, you couldn't tell me anything about my Raiders. I was a full blown, hard core Raiders fan.
In the early 80s I met my wife, Maria, and she already had a daughter, Toni, who is our oldest child. In 1984 we were expecting our first child and what an exciting time and she blessed me with a son and the Raiders were in the Super Bowl for the third time. And she felt him kick for the first time that year as well. So he came into this world, having the Raiders instilled in him.
His name is Derrick (Sun Raider) Easter, which fits him so perfectly as he shines everywhere he goes in life. He has always has a passion and fire for the Raiders, like his Pop. We have hung in there together with our Raiders though the thick and thin, the good and the bad. We went to our first game together in 2012, with a few other friends, and he fell in love with the RAIDER NATION and was inspired to start a Raider club.
I am proud to say my son, Corey Butler and I have a thriving club called the HAMPTON ROADS RAIDER CLUB. I was president for the first two years and I am proud to say my son is now the acting president. We have set up a founders board, which is the three of us and we are excited to let others lead as we continue to quickly grow in the first four years. And we are looking forward to our first championship together as father and son!