Raiders Fan -- Candy Padilla
Candy Padilla is among a number of Oakland Raiders fans who add excitement and delight to attending Raiders games. You can find Candy's work on Facebook or on ig@candypadillaphotography.
My name is Candy Padilla and although some might not realize it because they do not know me well, I was a Raider fan before ever becoming a photographer.
I've been a Raiders fan since the late 70s. I can remember when I first fell in love with the Silver n' Black. We were at my mom's friend's house watching the game (sorry, I cannot recall the specific game) and all of the other kids started getting bored and wanted to go outside. I remember getting up to go and my mom's friend's boyfriend said, "Hey! You always finish the game!", so I did and I was stuck from that point on.
Growing up in a family dominated by Niner fans I guess you could say I connected with that rebellious vibe the Raiders gave. I would often be asked why do I cheer for the Traders (after they moved to Los Angeles). I really couldn't give an answer back then. I just knew they were my team. I never really saw myself as a misfit but I definitely am my own person and felt a great connection to the Raiders at that time.
It's hard to believe but I never attended a Raiders game until 2003, against the Cincinnati Bengals. I sat in the Black Hole my first game and had the time of my life. We were not able to attend games prior to that as we had a young family and one of our children was diagnosed with autism so we poured all our time into helping him and raising our daughter, but once we went to that first game, that was it. We never stopped.
Many know my oldest son, Art, who was diagnosed with autism at two years old. He is very high functioning and believe it or not, taking him to Raiders games actually brought out his social side and changed his life. (This could be a whole different story so I'll keep it short -- lol.)
Since 2005 we've attended most Raider games with our four kids, Briana, Art, Aidan and Amaya, and it has become a family affair, so to speak. Some people vacation every year -- we attend Raider games.
I got into photography in the 90s in high school and worked in a photography studio right after high school. I also used to rap. Yes, I said rap. I guess I have always leaned towards being a creative person.
Although I no longer rap, I continued to utilize my photography talents and eventually connected it to my love for the Raiders. I used to sneak my lenses in to the Coliseum and take hundreds and hundreds of photos. I would post them on a Raider fan site I was a part of, share them with other fans, give them to players and I would always say, "One day I will make it down on that field, even if it's for only one time." Little did I know my dreams would come true in 2011, thanks to Black Hole Rob and The Black Hole.
I eventually started covering the Raiders every season after 2011 for a publication called Silver and Black Illustrated and I still find it hard to believe that I am blessed to be on the field every time I walk out on it. I mean how lucky am I to take one of my life's passions, photography, and use it to cover another passion, the Raiders? I am beyond lucky and never take it for granted.
So to end this, why do I cheer for the "Traders," the bad boys of football, the team everyone loves to hate?
I cheer for the Raiders because of their greatness, their history and long list of players many non-Raider fans even admire. I cheer for the Raiders because they have always had that, "We don't care what others think," attitude, their rebelliousness, their ability to strive to be the best, even though they are frowned upon for being the poor, trouble-making team across the Bay.
I cheer for the Raiders because they often take in those who are unwanted and allow them to shine brightly and prove others wrong. I cheer for the Raiders because they bring people from all over the world together, even in tough times, and form a family. I've met many great people due to our shared love for the Raiders.
I cheer for the Raiders because there is nothing like spending a Sunday morning in the parking lot with the Raider family, surrounded by delicious smells of BBQ, good friends, good times, good music and camaraderie.
I cheer for the Raiders because there is nothing like taking those first few steps out of the tunnel, onto the field, knowing that greatness has been born here for many years and I am lucky enough to stand in the same place. I cheer for the Raiders because I am one.