(By Daisy Barringer)
It's 11:15 a.m. as I write. I am hiding under my down comforter, wishing it were raining outside, unable to force myself out of bed, wondering why it all went wrong. My red cape with the 49ers logo sewn onto the back is curled up in a ball on the couch across from my bed. My binoculars, the ones that let me see the Kyle Williams fumble that lost us the game up close and personal, lie next to it. My red puffy rain jacket, the one I bought especially for the game because I couldn't bear the thought of not wearing team colors, hangs on the door where I left it to dry.
My eyes are swollen. My throat is sore. My heart is broken.
Last night, as I was sitting on the steps of the 77x as it left Candlestick Park, my head in my hands, I wondered why I do this to myself. When the 49ers won the NFC West, my expectations grew. When they earned a first-round bye and home-field advantage, they grew even more. When the Giants beat the Packers and the 49ers beat the Saints, earning the Niners a home game for the NFC Championship, I actually knew it was probably too much for me. "I can't handle it," I said all week. Because I knew if the 49ers lost, I'd sink into a brutal depression.
The higher you climb, the further you fall.
I'm won't rehash the game here. If you're a fan, you watched it and lived it and the last thing you need is me recalling the fact that the Niners went 1-for-13 on third down, that our wide receivers were non-existent, that the terrible-horrible-no-good refs blew the whistle early making Bradshaw's obvious fumble unreviewable. And you definitely don't need me to remind you about Kyle Williams fumbling away our chance at the Super Bowl. Twice.
I guess what I'm left wondering today is why we do it. Why we give ourselves so wholly to something completely out of our control. Many fans won’t be able to relate. Yes, they love the game and sure, they were upset when we lost last night, but they got out of bed this morning and went to work and are already posting funny links on Twitter or choosing their Super Bowl team. I’m not judging those fans; rather, a part of me wishes I could be like them.
Instead, I am still in bed (it’s now noon), I can’t bring myself to even acknowledge the tweets/IMs/Facebook messages/emails/texts that have piled up, and I didn’t even bother going into work. And mostly: I’m just really, really sad.
In my entire life, I’ve only had one relationship that didn’t end (the one I’m in now, obviously) and after every single breakup, I always tell myself: I’m not doing that again. It’s not worth it. It’s too painful/exhausting/draining. Sure, there are parts of every relationship that are fun, moments that are almost as good as a bomb down the field for a touchdown, or a stunning fourth-quarter comeback. But, for all of those great plays, relationships also have heaps of dropped balls, quarterback sacks, three-and-outs, missed field goals, and muffed punts.
And yet, inevitably, after every breakup, I eventually find myself dating again. Because I guess, no matter what I say, there’s always going to be a part of me that loves the feeling of game-winning field goal. Can’t get enough intercepted passes. A part of me that really, really wants to get to the Super Bowl. I guess maybe there’s a part of all of us that wants that.
Which, for me at least, explains why I will always love the 49ers and always believe in love. (The former more than the latter, of course.)
I think what I’m trying to say is that I'm a shitty girlfriend, but an awesome 49ers'
fan. (It's funny because it's true?) Like relationships, I think when it comes to the 49ers and my fandom, I don’t even have a choice. I know the odds are against me in both instances. And yet? I still hope that this time things will be different.
Of course, when it doesn’t work out, the cycle starts again and I get bitter and dejected and sad. Last night, after the loss, I thought that maybe I should sell next year’s season tickets, that I should find something else to care about so as much passion, that I should stop watching football altogether. But this morning, even though I can barely bring myself to read the articles about the game, even though I am disappointed in the offense and incredibly frustrated with Kyle Williams, even though I am so depressed I can’t bring myself to get out of bed, I know that none of those aforementioned ideas are even a remote possibility.
Because even though this team has no idea who I am. Even though they don’t care about me as an individual. Even though my disappearance wouldn’t be a blip on their radar... the 49ers are my family. And when family lets you down, you don’t abandon them. You support them. You remind them of everything that’s amazing about them. And you thank them for the best season of football you’ve ever had the pleasure to watch.
Now that the 49ers season is over, so is my time as your SFist 49ers correspondent. (For this year, anyway). I am sorry to end on such a depressing note, but I just want to say how fun it’s been covering the Niners this year. It was truly an unexpected and magical ride. And I know that with a little time, I’ll look back on it with fondness.
I really believed this was our year. That we had something no other team had. That we were headed to the Super Bowl. Even though the latter might not be happening, I still believe those other things. Anyone who watched all eighteen games this season isn’t likely to ever forget the raw heart and clear determination of this team. The phenomenal play of our special teams, determination of our offense, and dominance by our defense will stay etched in their minds forever. And certainly no one will ever forget what Coach Harbaugh came in here and did his rookie season. It was, after all, only two wins short of spectacular.
Thank you to everyone who read these posts, to the 49ers players who gave it their all, and to all of the Forty-Niners Faithful who came out to the games, wore red, and screamed their asses off. What a ride it has been.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s probably time for me to get out of bed. After all, the bills will keep coming, the world will keep turning, and the tear stains on my cheeks aren’t going to wash themselves off.
Plus, I have a hotel reservation in Indianapolis to cancel.
As always: Go Niners! Can’t wait for next year.