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Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis

One of the more wonderful things I was happy about in 2009 was that I got out a few times with one of my best friends from childhood.  We’ve started graying and maybe even have started to repeat ourselves so getting out again with each other and while we didn’t get to great events like a Super Bowl or a Cal-Stanford Big Game with miraculous plays, getting out and enjoying things together with someone and sharing in the joy, the laughter, the sadness, and the disappointment is what makes those events and memories even more special.

Jerry Rice #80 and me

Jerry Rice #80 and me

My wife often asks me about what it is that makes my friendship so special and I said it is that it is the unspoken.  It is that we don’t even have to tell each other about what we were tniking because “we just knew”.  The stunned look we gave each other as if to say, “Could this really be happening to us?”

Recently we went to a Monday Night Football game which I have to freely admit is not what it used to be from a television experience, but in a day and time when we see a lot of football played on Sundays, I had forgotten how special a night game in December could be.  Granted the 49ers are no longer a dynasty and ESPN does not replicate ABC and Howard Cosell or John Madden, but it didn’t need to.

Just sharing the night with a friend made a special night even more special.  I’d forgotten how great and magical Monday Night Football could be.  Even without the 49ers making the playoffs for the 7th straight season, the stars were still out.

With ESPN's Suzy Kolber

With ESPN's Suzy Kolber

The cool thing about Monday Night Football is that it is just as big a sporting event as it is a media event.  The sports celebrities are as big as the players themselves.  ESPN  personalities like Suzy Kolber, Michelle Tafoya, Stuart Scott and Matt Millen were all in attendance on the sidelines.
Matt Millen did play for the 49ers so he helped to add to the celebrity status.  There were plenty of 49er alumni in attendance  from the glory years, some working as  media as well as just taking in the whole scene:
  • Steve Young
  • Jerry Rice
  • Keena Turner
  • Deion Sanders
  • Steve Bono
MNF Pre-game hosts

MNF Pre-Game Hosts

As a football fan though, the game was very entertaining as the 49ers beat the defending NFC champs, Arizona Cardinals for the second time this season as they hounded them for 7 turnovers.

More importantly, the game ended with more memories for a good friendship that will leave us with more moments that we will be able to acknowledge with a simple nod and a smile because of its uniqueness in both of our memories.  From my perspective, taking photos of my friend both with the owner of the team as well as the 49er cheerleaders cracked me up.  Hopefully 20 years from now we’ll look back and them and crack up at how silly we were.  They will go in the pile along with the Polaroids (Wait, is it still 2009?  No? Time to throw away the polaroids.)  we took with Miss Universe 1982, Shawn Weatherly (yes, I still have old polaroids.)  In fact it was 1982 when the 49ers were bringing hoe their first Super Bowl (1981 actually).  Maybe it is coincidence that I went to the game with my friend Dave.  It has been a while since the 49ers had a winning season (they’ve not had a winning season since 2002), so this turnaround is a great time to share with friends.
With ex-49er QB Steve Bono

With ex-49er QB Steve Bono

Here’s to friends, football and pleasant memories.  I know this might sound sentimental and mushy, but I watched the movie Finding Forrester with my son.  The movie focuses ona reclusive writer who no longer wants to share with others because but a young kid from the neighborhodod shows him the joys of sharing and discovery again.  I’ve seen several writings on the Moral Premise of the movie:

Ignorance and avoidance of the unknown
leads to fear, isolation, and despair;
but Knowledge and embrace of the unknown
leads to faith, friendship, and hope.
In the movie, the reclusive author rediscovers the joy of visiting Yankee Stadium and a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden with his new-found friend.    This game was just a way for my friend and I to revisit some of those great memories and it just so happens that many of the heroes of our past were there.  Seeing Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Steve Bono, Matt Millen and Keena Turner on the sidelines while watching an increasingly competitive 49er team play a game on Monday night brought back many fond memories and good times.
It should be said that fiendships are not only there for the good times.  And that is why as we head into 2010 that I can only hope that many of the friendships of 2009 that were rooted in some not so fond times will get to rekindle some good times in 2010.
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