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Monday, January 23, 2012

49ers Pissed Away Super Bowl Berth. Accept This, and Move On.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge This, too, shall pass (or run)
  • This, too, shall pass (or run)

It may stagger longtime 49ers fans to comprehend it, but children born the season the team last won a Super Bowl are now able to buy cigarettes, vote, and sleep with whomever they choose. And yet, it's a testament to the utter dominance of the Niners of yore that older fans still feel entitled when complaining about the slings and arrows of following this team.

Complaints and anger are fair game for those too young for Steve Young. For those of a certain age, however, there's only disappointment and frustration. And you know what? That's okay. That's part of being a fan. You can't have good times without having bad times. If everything's good, the very idea of "good" becomes meaningless -- and cheap.

So the near-instantaneous cries of "Wait till next year!" and "What a magical season!" that flooded distraught fans only moments after Lawrence Tynes' 31-yarder in overtime split the uprights are nearly as frustrating as San Francisco's performance in the game.

Waiting till next year isn't really a matter of choice. And bringing up the Niners' great season at the moment of failure -- utter and preventable failure -- is extraordinarily patronizing.

So many times, we've been told that tragedies or deaths "put things in perspective" when it comes to organized sports. Really? Fans need floods and famines and terrorist attacks and senseless mayhem to remind them that there are more important things in life than the outcome of a ballgame? This is necessary?

Fans are perfectly capable of understanding the 49ers treated us to a spectacular season, but simultaneously realizing the team pissed away its most crucial game at its most crucial moments. To immediately attempt to smother real disappointment with cries of "wait 'till next year!" and "What a great season!" strikes me as a bit juvenile. The 49ers are a team of adults being rooted for by adults. And handling disappointment -- in an adult manner -- is something adults must do. 

"What a great season!" is a bit akin to "Who wants ice cream?" Ice cream is great, but it's not exactly a responsible way to cope with your problems (unless your problem is not having ice cream). 

It's understandable that people are averse to pain, but sometimes pain is good, if not desirable. Pain is authentic. Pain is necessary. And, here's the kicker -- pain is in the fine print. You signed up for this when you took a rooting interest in a team. Question why it hurts so much, and you'll end up questioning why you choose to care at all about the wiles of a multibillion-dollar business that employs young men to beat each other into dementia over an oblong scrap of leather and extort cash-strapped municipalities out of vast sums of money

Besides, virtually the same thing happened in 1991. You could look it up.

We'll have plenty of time to rationalize this and move on. But, in the near term, it breaks your heart.

It breaks your heart because it is designed to break your heart.

For those who'd prefer not to wallow in misery -- and don't want to be cheered up with cries of "wait 'till next year!" -- there's only one thing to do: Watch Cab Calloway and the Nicholas brothers dance in Stormy Weather:

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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