Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bay Area Loses Two Similiar Icons!

The world, our nation, and the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area lost two of its legendary, iconic leaders this past week....as Apple Computer Founder/CEO 'Steve Jobs' passed away Wednesday at his home in Palo Alto, California at the age of 56, while Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis died Saturday, less than 40-miles away at his home in Piedmont, California at the age of 82.
Though separated in age by 26-years, both were known as short-tempered, tyrannical mavericks who out-worked their employees, and out-gutt fought anyone standing in the way of their progress, thus paving the paths by which these two un-common genius's pioneered and revolutionized their respective industries on a world-wide scale!
Davis helped mold and grow the National Football League into a titanic industry, while steam rolling the Raiders into one of the winning est sports franchises of its age, while Jobs spear-headed world technology by launching the personal computer, and enhancing our way of listening to music and viewing film animation.
Both Davis and Jobs were born years ahead of their time, suffering no fools in their relentless pursuit of success, each possessing an un-matched eye for talented personnel, and strict intolerance for anything less!
This left un-admirable impressions on their many detractors, however, both men had their soft sides....each revealing charity, support, and un-matched generosity, which neither Davis nor Jobs called attention to--and both strongly rewarded loyalty, not just from employees and friends, but from all people who surrounded and supported them!
While it's well documented that Davis and Jobs made numerous enemies of those they trampled on their way up, I had a chance to meet and work with both of these leaders at different times over the past 25-years, and to me....their personalities were anything but arrogant, viscous, destructive or tyrannical!
As a limo driver from 1995 thru 2001 I chauffeured Jobs and his family (wife Loreen and three children, Reed, Erin, and Eve), along with many of his corporate executives, managers, and top-name celebrities who visited him either at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, or at his home in Palo Alto. 
Like most of them, Jobs was nothing short of kind, caring, thoughtful, and thorough....far from the impatient, "whipper-snapper" I'd so often heard about!
I remember driving he and wife Loreen to San Francisco for the premier of "Toy Story-2" (Jobs was also Founder and CEO of 'Pixar Animation'), and as they conversed in the back seat of my sedan, I noticed his deep, romantic affection for Loreen, and their shared, mutual love and nurturing thoughts concerning their children.
Jobs was more a romantic than a dictator, and though his perfectionist, hands-on approach often led him to bark out orders (even in limousines), he never issued more than a polite suggestion to me.
I especially recall his happy, smiling mood one night wearing a tuxedo in 1997, after I drove him home and congratulated him upon being RE-appointed Apple's Chief Executive. (I only wish I'd bought more apple stock then!)
As for meeting Al Davis for the first time, it was intimidating, especially since I grew up a true Raider fanatic, and was more or less ordered to approach him after he spoke at the 'Nugget" Hotel-Casino in Carson City, Nevada.
In 1982 I was a TV cameraman shooting for the NBC affiliate in Reno, and we (my reporter and I) were there covering the Nevada State Legislature...when out of nowhere we stumble onto this press luncheon hosting the legendary Raider Boss.
My reporter immediately urged me to "get up there and grab him for a one-on-one interview", and I just happened to be wearing my silver and black windbreaker with white striped lining, and he immediately locked onto THAT....as I moved toward him.
He was very kind and cordial to me but said, "no thanks, not right now. I really like that jacket though--you must be a Raid-ahh's fan!"  I said, "you bet!"...and he raised his fist exclaiming, "good to hear that!"
Three-years later I was the TV reporter, a sportscaster from Bakersfield, California doing a five-part mini series on the LA Raiders at their training camp in Oxnard, California.
I got every shot and interview I sought that day except for Mr. Davis....who'd been elusively prowling every corner of the field, as if to appear un-noticed before suddenly sneaking up to tease players (I recall him cackling beside Lester Hayes), before quickly disappearing again.
I really wanted to get an interview, or at least a shot of Mr. Davis on tape, however, when asking permission from his executive assistant Gil Hererra, he told me,"don't even try, don't even get near him, or he'll boot you out of here."
To this day I don't know what force prompted me, but I said..."to hell with it"...and finally approached him a bit later when he stood alone, and fairly close by.
Once again, Al Davis was cordial to me, this time saying "no thanks Pete, I'd ratha you get shots of Tom (Headcoach Flores) and the team...but thanks faa commin all the way from bak-ahh'sfield to covaah the Rad-ahh's".
Then, I told him how much I enjoyed growing up a die-hard fan, following all the great Raider playoff wins, and the incredible, miracle comebacks! He said, "yea...there wah many great ones!" 
Suddenly, I recalled the 1976 season opener in Oakland against the Pittsburgh Steelers in which the Raiders rallied from 14-points down in the final five-minutes to win. That victory led to their first Superbowl Championship. 
His eyes lit up, and we went back and forth detailing those final five minutes, my recall accurately matching his. He must have been impressed, because we carried on for another ten-minutes (it seemed like an hour) of detailed recollections!
Finally he closed with "thanks young man, I like that...I'm gonna remembaah you!"  I walked away, head spinning and pleased....but still without any video-tape of Davis.
I imagine without showing my dedication and reverance for the Raiders, Al Davis may not have been quite so nice to me, however, I still witnessed first hand how he, much like Steve Jobs, had a soft side that revealed itself often--especially to those who surrounded and were loyal to him.
So, as the flags at Raider Headquarters in Alameda, California, and at Apple Headquarters in Cupertino remain fluttering at half-mast, let us honor the memories of two similar, fallen legends in their own time....Steve Jobs and Al Davis, each of whom left behind thriving franchise's (The 3-2 Raiders upset Houston on Sunday, and Apple's stock has risen since Wednesday), and who's contributions made the Earth a better planet to live on for countless millions! 
Thank You, and remember to log onto www.streetwisesd.com for more blogs.
Sincerely,  PeteCam4

No comments:

Post a Comment