Sometimes you learn a lot from reading what the fans have to say in response to an article about the Oakland Raiders. For example, a BR writer named Fred said the following of Napoleon Kaufman:
"Nap was a damn good Raiders' running back too. Dennis & Reggie are keeping on with the Al Davis philosophy of surrounding themselves with former Raiders elite players to boost the team. I imagine Nap's job will be kinda like the story of General Patton calling for the chaplain to provide a prayer to clear the clouds over Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge--he's going to pray a lot to help the Raiders win in 2012. We'll need it."
The quote reminded me of the statue of General Patton on the campus of the United States Military Academy (West Point). I walked that campus two times in past years, and I stopped and stared at the statue. Fred mentioned the events at Bastogne, so I looked up some information.
Most of all, I realized that "heavy rains" fell on the Oakland Raiders' franchise because of the loss of Mr. Al Davis. I saw the Oakland Raiders as warriors who were struggling to prepare for a battle but drenched and heavy-laden by "immoderate rain."
I said to myself, "Fred is a smart man. This is a powerful comment."
Here is what I hope we learn from Fred and from this quote:
"Chaplain, I am a strong believer in Prayer. There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that's working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything, That's where prayer comes in. Up to now, in the Third Army, God has been very good to us. We have never retreated; we have suffered no defeats, no famine, no epidemics. This is because a lot of people back home are praying for us. We were lucky in Africa, in Sicily and in Italy. Simply because people prayed. But we have to pray for ourselves, too. A good soldier is not made merely by making him think and work. There is something in every soldier that goes deeper than thinking or working--it's his "guts." It is something that he has built in there: it is a world of truth and power that is higher than himself. Great living is not all output of thought and work. A man has to have intake as well. I don't know what you it, but I call it Religion, Prayer or God."
So, if the Oakland Raiders chaplain can abide by the wisdom of the chaplain who worked with General Patton, then we can expect great things to happen in 2012.
After reading Fred's comment, I was so glad that at least I have had the opportunity to stare at the statue of General Patton on West Point's campus. Those marvelous connections are what give some of us hope for 2012.
As I paraphrase the quote, I would say that a good Oakland Raider "is not made merely by making him think and work. There is something in every Raider that goes deeper than thinking or working: it's his 'guts.' It is something that he has built in there: it is a world of truth and power that is higher than himself...."
Let's hope the Oakland Raiders' chaplain can inspire the players to draw on something deeper.
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