Candlestick Park

Heading to The Stick as a fan … and I’m ready to get LOUD

I get to go to the 49ers’ first playoff game in nine seasons. Not because the 49ers suddenly had a change of heart and gave me a media credential for the first time this year. Instead, we spent an ungodly sum on playoff tickets. So my wife and I will be sitting in Lower Reserved Section 11 with my dad, stepmom, stepsister and her husband.

I’m not exactly nervous right now, just trembling from excitement, tension and anxiety. But definitely not nervousness.

It won’t be as much fun if the 49ers lose. But I’m not 14 anymore, I’ll get over it.

(Side story: when I was a kid, my dad and I watched every Niners game together. During losses my dad would become withdrawn and cranky, usually giving up on the game early if the deficit grew to 10 or more. I would watch the entire game no matter what, then become extremely pouty — I think the kids call it “emo” — after every loss, rare as 49ers losses were back then.

After playoff losses like the 1992 NFC Title Game against Dallas, our reactions created a volatile combination, usually leading to my dad deciding that every chore we’d been putting off for weeks — like disposing of the Christmas tree — needed to be done immediately. And with the Niners’ season ending mere minutes earlier, I was never in the mood for work of any kind. So he resented my laziness and I resented his task-master ways. Fun for the whole family!

Looking back on it we probably should have separated after losses for the rest of the afternoon.)

Since I’m not a regular on any media payrolls, I can say this: forget being detached from the outcome of Saturday afternoon’s game. I want to be a part of the outcome.

When the 49ers have the ball, I’m going to sit/stand quietly and hope for good things, then celebrate like a maniac if they do.

When the 49ers are on defense, I want to scream as loud as my lungs will allow for minutes at a time, unable to hear myself over the crowd of thousands around me doing the same. I want to amplify the impact of a big hit from a 49ers defender with a wall of noise that rocks New Orleans’ sideline. Noise that will create fear, confusion and finally … a realization that from the Saints that they don’t have enough to prevail in a location that’s more uncomfortable than they ever imagined.

Jim Harbaugh has brought a college atmosphere to the San Francisco 49ers, and slowly the energy at Candlestick has grown to the crescendo we’ll see/hear on Saturday. After the cautious optimism during the first game of the season against Seattle, followed by the Dallas game when Cowboys fans took over the stadium to a certain extent, tomorrow’s going to be incredibly different. A true homefield advantage. The 49ers are poised to take over the city, region, everything … and I’m ready to help them through irrational passion.

I took our Christmas tree to the curb a few days ago. However, if we’re successful as fans on Saturday afternoon, my dad won’t have the need to assign any chores after this game ends.

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