I’ll admit it: I joined the 49ers Faithful via the bandwagon.
I became a 49ers fan because they were winning and I didn’t know much about sports at the time. It was Jan. 1995 and the 49ers had just won their fifth Super Bowl—the first team to achieve such a feat.
In 1995, I was a nine-year-old boy that was just getting into sports. I had just picked up playing basketball with my friends in elementary school and it seemed that a lot of my friends enjoyed active play during recess.
But my biggest influence on sports may be my father.
My father immigrated to the Bay Area from Hong Kong in 1981 and was very fortunate to have seen the 49ers win their first Super Bowl that year. And by trying to understand America’s sport, my father would continue to follow the 49ers.
It was very helpful for my father to see the 49ers win three more titles that decade. He would become a supporter of every member of those championship teams.
Then head coach George Seifert couldn’t compare to what Bill Walsh had established in San Francisco. My dad made sure that I was aware of his opinion on that matter.
When the 49ers traded Joe Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs, my father was furious. His hero had left and was replaced by Steve Young. Young in his own right was a great quarterback, but his style was so different from Montana that my dad just couldn’t accept it.
Young scrambled the instant the pocket broke and his running style was something my dad never got accustomed to. Rather than be a pass-first quarterback like Montana was, Young was more of a run before you pass type of quarterback.
But as I first started to follow football, Young was my quarterback. Montana was traded, so I had no memories of him on the team. All I knew was that Young was the quarterback I grew up with and I supported him.
My dad told me that Young was a failure and tried to convince me that the 49ers would never succeed with Young under center. Even after the 49ers won their fifth title, my dad refused to accept Young as a good quarterback. He would constantly compare Young to Montana—an unfair comparison, but the standard my dad held.
Actually, I shouldn’t have been a 49ers fan. I grew up in the East Bay in Richmond. My favorite teams were the Golden State Warriors and the Oakland Athletics. Both of these two teams play in Oakland.
Naturally, I should have been a Raiders fan. But at that time, the Raiders were in Los Angeles, so the 49ers were the only football team I knew. And as the years continued, my dad continued to egg me about Young. And for those years, I continued to support him just to prove my dad wrong.
Thanks, Dad. Without you, I might not have been so driven to follow the 49ers at such a young age.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Joe Montana. But your hate for Steve Young made me love the 49ers that much more.