I am grateful the Superbowl is over. As a 49ers fan, watching such a one-sided match is like Bill Clinton watching President Barack Obama’s performance in the first debate against Mitt Romney and thinking, “damn… I could have done so much better.”
But let’s be positive. Let’s remember the last big hurrah we got to enjoy at the home of the San Francisco 49ers. I had the amazing pleasure to photograph the final game at the ‘stick for the San Francisco Chronicle. But the honor didn’t stop there.
My partners on the final home game of Candlestick were the Chronicle’s veteran Michael Macor and John Storey (the photographer who made “the catch“). I carpooled with the two of these photographic mentors to the stadium, sitting in the back seat trying to keep my mouth shut. I just listened to them rag on Candlestick the whole way and it was great.
By now you have heard about the sorry venue that is Candlestick Park. It is cold (for California), too far away, and just plain ugly. A victim of 60′s multi-use concrete construction philosophy, the park held a strong spot in my heart not because of the building, but because of what it housed. The Giants and the 49ers in the early and mid-90′s were powerhouses. And both played at the ‘stick.
I was just a child in elementary school at the time, so the years of Matt Williams, Will Clark, Robbie Thompson, Steve Young and Jerry Rice hold an extra special place in my heart. That is the age in which a child choses his heros.
I have two very different relationships with Candlestick Park. In one, I am a kid catching a ball tossed to me by second baseman Robbie Thompson. In the second, I am a freelance photojournalist covering the San Francisco 49ers. Both memories are very vibrant but are in no way related to each other. Separated by the Giant’s move to AT&T Park and my 7 year stint in the Midwest, my relationship with the ‘stick is fractured.
So let’s move on from the anti-climatic end to the Niners’ 2013 season and re-live the last great sport experience at the ‘stick: the San Francisco 49er’s 34 to 24 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons on December 23, 2013 (yes it has taken me this long to write a blog post about it).