If I added up the time I spend watching football, researching players, and writing weekly fantasy recaps for my league, it would probably be at least a part-time job.
So, um, remember a few weeks ago when I said I was going to be a better fan? Yeah. About that.
First of all, I tried. I really did! I even recall saying something on Saturday like, “I think I’m going to try to drink less at the game tomorrow.” And I totally meant it when I said it, but then, well, you know: FOOTBALL HAPPENED.
And my friends invited me to come to their tailgate and well, gosh, it’d be rude not to go, right? And what am I going to do at a tailgate? Drink soda? Not unless it has vodka in it! I have a reputation to maintain, people.
So yeah, maybe there was a beer on the bus. And then a beer in the parking lot. And I seem to recall a gin and tonic at some point. And then I was inside the stadium and “Two more beers, please!” Well, you get it.
And, believe me. It’s not that I’m an angry drunk. Or that I was even drunk at all. It’s that I fucking love my football team and people who aren’t with me are AGAINST ME and THEY WILL PAY.
Or something slightly less sinister and sociopathic. (Ish.)
Anyway, thanks to the beer and the sun and the fact that despite dominating the Seattle Seahawks for the first half, the 49ers were struggling mightily in the third quarter, I was having a bit of a pouty meltdown. Just in my head though. I’m pretty sure no one else even knew about it.
Well, fine. No one else knew about it until Campfriend’s friends showed up to sit in our section. Friends who were, brace yourself people, rooting for the Seachickens. Gross, I know.
Now, it’s not like these people didn’t have perfectly good seats on the other side of the stadium, but I guess they thought sitting with us would be fun because they love Campfriend and they never get to see him blahblahblahblah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure these friends are perfectly nice people. I mean, Campfriend seems to be a good guy, right? He wouldn’t align himself with miscreants. OR WOULD HE?
So this duo showed up and they were friendly-ish enough for a husband and his pregnant wife (don’t you dare start taking their side just because she’s bringing life into this world). I have the impression from our previous encounters that they’re not huge Daisy fans (it makes no sense to me either, but there you have it), but that they’re willing to tolerate my existence since their “friend” (What? My grandmother puts quotations around everything and no one judges her!) is in love with me or whatever the kids are calling it these days.
But the thing is … Right when the “friends” showed up? That’s when the STUPID DUMB SEAHAWKS scored a touchdown. And suddenly it was the fourth quarter and my beloved Niners were only two points ahead and last season flashed through my head and OH GOD, I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AND IT’S NOT GOOD.
So I panicked. And as I panicked, I also got kind of bitter. Why couldn’t the stupid Seattle “fans” (see what I did there? Thanks Grandmother!) have just stayed in their seats? Why did I have to sit there and listen to them clap and cheer and do all of that stuff people do to root for their team, but that’s sooooo annoying to listen to when “their” team isn’t “MY” team?
So I leaned across Campfriend and said in my sweetest Southern way, “So, tell me. Where exactly in Seattle are you from?”
But the “friend” just shook his head and said nothing.
“No, seriously,” I went on because I’m totally and utterly incorrigible. “I’m not very familiar with Seattle, but I’d love to hear all about your hometown. Is it just beautiful there? DO YOU LOVE IT?”
But guess who didn’t have an answer because, OH RIGHT: HE’S NOT FROM SEATTLE? He’s from a town in Northern California. Where his wife was also born. A TOWN THAT ROOTS FOR THE NINERS.
“Well at least I get to CHOOSE my team,” he finally retorted. “And I’m not just stuck with whatever team I was given.”
Which really makes no sense, but I’ll just leave that argument be. (Although we all agree that had I pursued it, I’d have won, right? OK. Good.)
But I didn’t even have time to make my retort because there was football being played, so I leaned back in my seat to watch Seattle kick off and HOLY OHMYGOD WAS THAT TED GINN, JR. RETURNING THE KICKOFF 102 YARDS FOR A TOUCHDOWN? Why yes. Yes it was.
I screamed. I jumped. I high-fived everyone around me (no, not them, sillies).And then, before my ear-to-ear grin even had a chance to subside, Seattle went three and out and WAIT. WAS THAT TED GINN, JR. RETURNING THE PUNT AND RUNNING DOWN THE FIELD WITH NO ONE TO STOP HIM? Hallelujah, I had seen the Lord.
I don’t know when I climbed onto my seat and started jumping and screeching like a monkey in heat, but I imagine it was right around the time when Ted Ginn, Jr. ran into the end zone for his second touchdown in under 60 seconds. I threw my arms in the air. I flung my head back. And I soaked it in. Because, wow, the Niners have sucked for so long. And they’ll probably suck again. But in that moment. That 60 seconds when Ted Ginn did what no other 49ers player has ever done? THAT, my friends, is a moment worth reveling in. THAT is why I love football.
The game ended (33-17) and the four of us made our way out of the stadium, saying a quick goodbye before heading in opposite directions. As I walked away, I knew that they would forever think of me as a huge bitch. And that Campfriend would be (rightfully) annoyed with me. And that I should have been nicer. And more gracious. And a bunch of other adjectives Pollyanna would appreciate.
But as I soaked up the energy of a 49ers victory, felt the happiness of the fans in red and gold all around me, and rejoiced in coming out with a WIN on opening day, I wasn't bothered in the slightest.
Maybe that makes me a bad person. But I really don't care. Because it also makes me a fan. A fan who wasn't going to let anything wipe the shit-eating grin off of her face.At least not 'til next Sunday.