Reception at our house was poor, so unless he was outside doing chores, he had to sit with his radio hanging next to the large kitchen window in order to make out at least most of what was happening.
But he didn’t want to miss a second of the game the 49ers played on Jan. 10, 1982, the NFC Championship match with the Dallas Cowboys. So since the radio reception was much better in our Chevy van, he decided to drive around while listening to the end of the game. And since I had nothing better to do, I hopped in the van with him.
I remember us slowly circling a flat, sparse neighborhood near the ocean as the game neared its end. I don’t remember any of the action or why it mattered, but I can still see my father suddenly throwing his fist into the air and crying out, the van swerving until he put both hands back on the steering wheel.
Now I know exactly what that moment was for everyone else: “The Catch” made by Dwight Clark to win the game and send the 49ers to Joe Montana's first Superbowl victory. But to me, it was the moment I became a 49ers fan for life.
A 49ers fan who will always prefer to listen to their games on the radio, picturing my dad and me in our Chevy van, that usually quiet, reserved man suddenly exploding in joy. Forty-niners games will always help me relive one of my favorite memories of my childhood, and definitely my favorite memory of my father.