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My loyalty to the San Francisco 49ers has as much to do with memories of my fathers as with love for the “home team.”

I’ve been a Niner fan since I was old enough to actually pay attention to and understand the game (except for a brief period when I called the Chicago Bears my team because bears are awesome). Being raised by a single mother who didn’t care for sports, when I was very young the only time I got to watch football was when I visited my biological father. He was and continues to be a diehard 49ers fan.  I became emotionally invested in the team for that reason – and because it was fun to hang out with my father and brothers and watch football during Winter break.

When I was nine, my mom met the man who would become my stepfather. And sports were brought into my everyday life. My dad  – okay, I’d better clear something up. It’s funny, decades passed before I called him “dad” directly, but I’ve always referred to him as “my dad” when speaking about him. Which confuses people who know my biological father to no end. So, father = biological; dad = my amazing stepfather. So, my dad was a Los Angeles Rams fan when he came into our lives. But he eventually came to root for the Niners as well. However, after they won the Super Bowl in 1989, he decided that they “won too often” and wanted to root for a different team. He kills me. So he started rooting for any team that played against my Niners, and we had fun giving each other crap. Those were good times.

By the time I left home, I was a solid 49ers fan in my own right. And even through all these years of team turmoil and strife, I’ve never wavered in my faithfulness to the 49ers. I’ve watched on my own, with friends and family, with boyfriends, with the BF. I’ve cheered and hollered, bragged and moped, made lots of memories both at Candlestick and at home. And every time I sit down to watch a game, I feel a little surge of love for my two fathers.