It’s a hot topic when sports franchises find success. Accusations and finger pointing fly faster and longer than the hang time on an Andy Lee punt.
How long have you been a fan, and how can you prove it?
Which is then followed by who has a been a fan longer. Leading to, who has more “stuff” and the strength of one’s fandom. Those that have been fans the “longest” or have the most trinkets claim to be the most passionate, best fans. But, in reality we’re all supporting the same thing. So in retrospect, let’s try and set some ground rules for the San Francisc0 49ers bandwagon.
1. Hop On At Anytime.
In theory, we all have. As a child of the early ’80s, I jumped on board during highly successful times. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, mainly, brought the red and gold out of my dresser drawer on a daily basis during my youthful years.
So, feel free to buy your first t-shirt or proclaim your Faithful allegiance now. It has to start somewhere and at sometime. I’m all for it. There’s strength in numbers.
Although I’m envious of those that are able to attend 49ers games more regularly due to proximity and even more jealous of season ticket holders, I’ve never had that ability. As a man of the midwest, my live game experience of the 49ers consists of trips to Kansas City, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Chicago. Seeing the red and gold inside enemy territory is a rewarding feeling. So, the more the merrier!
2. Loyalty Above All Else
There are 32 teams in the National Football League. There’s only one that matters. And that should apply to a fan of any team. If, and hopefully when, you establish yourself as a fan of the San Francisco 49ers do not waver. Faithful fans ride out the bad times with the good. If there happens to be a lull in success for the 49ers, shifting “loyalty” to a current, more successful team is NEVER an option. A wishy-washy fan is no fan at all.
3. Levels Of Fandom Are Undefined
Look, I own a lot of 49ers stuff. Throughout my lifetime I’ve spent more than a pretty penny on clothes, hats, jerseys, sporting cards…..the whole gamut. The enjoyment that I get out of reading about the history of the franchise is intense. Bob St. Clair and Leo “The Lion” Nomellini are two of my favorite old timers that laced their cleats for the San Francisco 49ers before I was a glimmer in my daddy’s eye. I’ve performed my due diligence that clearly states my loyalty to the 49ers.
But, that doesn’t give me the right to question your allegiance per se. I don’t claim to be a better fan than most. I certainly never felt the need to boldly claim that, “I’ve been a fan from the day Steve Deberg took his last snap as a 49er.
Once again, if you want to support this team at any time, I’m all for it! There’s strength in numbers!
4. Wavering Is Not An Option
This certainly coincides with loyalty and climbing aboard the proverbial bandwagon, but let’s take it a step further. For those of us that are married or in serious relationships, the rules are similar. It’s ok to look. It’s only natural. But take it beyond that, and you’ve surpassed acceptable.
This practice is common for folks, like myself, that don’t base our team affiliations based off geography. We live in a professional sports abyss where it’s commonplace for people to side with the “hot” teams in sports. And when that recently successful team just happens to be more localized, look out! The bandwagon fills up quickly. But, this practice is never, EVER acceptable as it pertains to the San Francisco 49ers.
Alex Smith quarterbacked the Kansas City Chiefs to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance last season. He played his heart out for the 49ers to the best of his ability for 8 seasons. From my house, the Chiefs are a short 3 hour drive to watch and support in person. I’d never perform such treason. Sorry Alex, you wear the wrong red and certainly no gold.
5. There’s NO Coming Back
This very second you leave the Faithful, there’s no coming back. Nope, you are not welcome…..at all! If you can’t outlast the low times with memories of yester year or day, then the fans that fuel the passion for the San Francisco 49ers don’t want you around.
Credibility amongst fans is built on loyalty and longevity. There is none if you throw your support from team to team loosely. So, choose wisely (the 49ers) and choose with conviction. We do call ourselves 49ers Faithful for a reason.