One of the surprising things about going through a separation and divorce over the last three to four years is rediscovering interests that I had forgotten about. Two of these have been cricket and American football and in particular the San Francisco 49ers.
I’ve been a fan of the San Francisco 49ers since the 1980s; I have family there. I was fortunate to grow up during the classic Joe Montana (#16), Jerry Rice (#80), Ronnie Lott (#42) era. I would watch the weekly updates on Channel 4 and I remember sitting in David Russell Hall during my first year at university, wearing my 49ers merch that I’d brought home from the previous summer’s visit to California, surrounded by Americans, watching the 49ers win Super Bowl XXIV. They were amazed at how much I knew about the game and how passionate I was about the 49ers.
During that previous summer, I had attended a pre-season game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco against the San Diego Chargers with Jim McMahon (formerly of the Chicago Bears) as quarterback. I got to see my favourite three play (Montana, Rice and Lott), although Steve Young played for much of the game.
This year, I have been following most of the games online. Not just the 49ers but all the matches. The NFL posts highlights videos to the NFL YouTube channel very quickly.
And this year, the 49ers have done fabulously. They are through to the NFC championships, on Sunday 19 January, against the Green Bay Packers.
And if they win that… Super Bowl LIV.