A 49ers game | Cool stuff about the game

Here we are at an Oakland Raiders game at the Oakland Coliseum. My press pass allows me to go down on the field to places like the end zone where I can listen to the fans cheer for their team.

Before the game begins, I can watch the players warm up on the field, or chat with football officials like the referee. As I'm standing here in this photo, Raiders owner Al Davis and former player Dave Casper are walking toward me. I've spoken with Mr. Davis many times, and I call Dave Casper by his nickname "Ghost," as in "Casper the Friendly Ghost."

These are some of the members of the working press. Many of them are my friends. They are in the press box to watch the game and report on it. They might work for a newspaper or a magazine or a TV or radio station. Or maybe they are writing a book about a player!

Besides getting a free pass to the game, members of the media also get all the food and drinks they want for free! They have this great job because they worked hard in school and learned to read and write well. Wouldn't you love to have a job like this?

During the game I like to go down on the field to watch the action from the sideline. I can stand so close to the field that if I took one step forward, I would actually be inbounds! But that is not the safest thing to do.

Football players are very fast. You never realize just how fast they are until you see them up close. Sometimes the play will come toward me and I will have to scramble like crazy to get out of the way. I have been knocked over by players, and believe me, it hurts!

The moment the game ends, I can go directly onto the field to see the players and coaches congratulate one another. I like to go straight to the 50-yard line where the two head coaches meet, so I can hear what they say.

Then it's time to leave the field and go with the players down through the tunnel and into the locker room. It's fun to listen to the fans yell and cheer from the stands as the players walk past.

Inside the locker room, the players change from their dirty uniforms into their regular clothes. It's generally noisy in the locker room of the winning team, as the players whoop it up and celebrate. But in the other locker room down the hall, the losing team is pretty quiet. I usually feel sorry for the losers.

The players are pretty tired as they sit on the stool in front of their locker. But most of them are happy to talk with me and other writers about the game. I have been in locker rooms hundreds of times over the years, and I've gotten to know some of the players pretty well.

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