I became a fan of the San Francisco 49ers at a very young age. The year was 1984; I was only three years old. Looking back as an adult today, I search deep and hard back to my first ever memories of my family cheering and screaming for the 49ers every Sunday.
I was born and raised in Redwood City, Calif., which is located in the peninsula of the Bay Area, just 24 miles south of San Francisco. Our home was just across the street from the 49ers Headquarters and Training Facility.
Running into Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Kena Turner and Randy Cross along with most of the other players on the team was a regular event. Most of the players loved interacting with the fans, and people in the community could always go and watch practices and get autographs signed on a daily basis during the season.
When I was old enough to communicate with my parents and grandparents, they enlightened me with how I was born into being a 49er fan and that as a little toddler I was forced to wear my Joe Montana uniform, complete with the matching gold pants and plastic helmet. I was told that I loved it so much that I always wanted to wear it around to show it off and run into things.
My mother told me that when we used to go to the local park we would regularly run into Joe Montana and his wife Jennifer. I would play in the sandbox with their newborn baby girl Alexandra, while my parents would have the excellent opportunity to converse to the star quarterback of the 49ers in a leisurely setting.
On January 20, 1985, the 49ers were playing for another Super Bowl for the second time in three years. However, the venue for this Super bowl was just ten miles away in Palo Alto, Calif. at Stanford Stadium. This was truly a home game for the 49ers and Forty-Niner Fever was infecting the entire area.
This was the only Super Bowl venue ever that had their home team represented in the Super Bowl. Even though it was not Candlestick Park, it was right next to the teams Headquarters.
Given that the Super Bowl was being played in our own backyard, my entire family went to the game. Pandemonium was everywhere people were honking horns, screaming, and yelling, “Let’s go Niners!” The 49ers won 38-16 defeating the Dan Marino lead Miami Dolphins. This Super Bowl was also special as Ronald Regan was sworn in to his second-term on the same day.
This was the first moment I can remember becoming a 49er fan. Though, at a very young age, (three) I still can remember vague moments of watching the Super Bowl and the energy that was in the area at the time. From that, point on I was a fan for life, never missing one game and never falling off the bandwagon.
It was difficult for anyone in Redwood City to not follow the team, the players, the coaches all lived in our community. They shopped at the same stores, got gas at the same gas stations as everyone else did. However, that all changed in 1988 when the team relocated to their present location in Santa Clara.
When I started going to elementary school, I was always known for sporting my Joe Montana jersey. (it was not the same jersey that I wore as a toddler) At recess, I played with touch football with the other kids. I always had to be quarterback because I had “the” jersey on, so it made it easy to be the one tossing the ball all the time. Soon, other kids began to wear 49er jerseys that sparked a trend and a huge gathering on the grass lot.
After the 49ers won two Super Bowls in a row in 1988 and 1989, even more children began wearing 49er clothing, the starter parka was the most popular thing to wear in school. Joe Montana was god and Jerry Rice was the best wide receiver in the game. The 49ers were the team to be a fan of, the team that could not be stopped. I began to be even more of a fan as my knowledge of the team and the game increased year by year.
Once I graduated High School, I saved up all the money I could and put my name on the 49ers season ticket waiting list. A few seasons past and the opportunity finally came up to become a 49er season ticket holder.
Six years have passed since, and I have never missed a 49er home game (even preseason). I follow the team very closely on a day--by-day basis and now I love to write about them and call in sports radio shows to speak my mind.
Those exciting memories of following one of the most successful and decorated professional sports franchises ever will always be forever instilled in me.
When other kids turned to their comic books, skateboards, and played marbles. I decided to grow-up a Forty-Niner, and become a part of the Faithful.