Once upon a time, there was a glorious decade known as the 1980's. And during this glorious time, the San Francisco 49ers were in Super Bowls, too. Super Bowls which they actually won. Because Joe and Dwight and Jerry and Hacksaw and Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were there.
And I was young then. Young and sorta kinda maybe a little bit prettier than I am now. I was also rather bold and brassy. And the 49ers practiced every day about 5 minutes from our house. They did not practice in the fortress-like, high-security facility in which they practice today. No. They practiced in a field at the recreation center in the town in which I lived. There was a rather lame fence around the field, which it was pretty easy to see through. There were also holes in the fence separating the community pool from the area where their locker room was. When I was on a girls' swim team and we practiced in said pool, we used to sit atop this fence and look through the holes within it. We could see right into their locker room. We greatly enjoyed this and we would tease the young, muscular football players as they paraded around in their towels. (This pool stuff actually happened in the late 1970's, when nobody gave a rip about the 49ers because they lost all the time. So, they were just grateful for some attention.) The wondrous football players also had to park their cars in the main parking lot where all of the rest of us regular people parked. And this is where my story unfolds.
It was during the time of the playoffs, and it was pretty clear that the Niners were going to get to the Super Bowl. One of my younger sisters was home with me one day, and I knew the team was having a practice over at their low-security facility, parking their cars in the lot with all the mommies and preschoolers and other regular folk. "Let's go over and get autographs," I said to my sister. She was pretty mortified at my idea, but I persuaded her with my bold and brassy attitude.
So, we drove over to the recreation center and awaited the arrival of our team. And arrive they did, one by one, in their fancy cars. And I criss-crossed the parking lot, with my sister in tow, chasing them down and collecting signatures in my Autograph Book. Yes, I have an Autograph Book. It was given to me by Santa Claus in 1974 and it has a an odd, 70's-era picture of some kind of striped cat on the cover. A picture that might have been drawn by somebody who was on one of the many drugs that were popular in 1974.
I got many autographs that day, and the players were all really fun and nice. Except for Joe. He parked his car close to the building and made a bee-line for the door. It's not that he was mean or rude or anything. He was just a very shy person and was intimidated by us bold and brassy types.
Not long after this the 49ers moved to their new, locked-down facility. But, it doesn't really seem to have helped them any. They were just as good, and maybe better, practicing on the little field with the dilapidated fence around it. And I'm just very glad and grateful I got to be a part of those 49er Glory Days.