Updated: Jan 27
Football used to bore the shit out of me.
The irony in that sentence is pretty funny, actually. My entire online presence would scream at my past self. It’s crazy how much the things we go through can influence our path in this life.
Just like most mornings, the sun smacked me in the face through the window today and I proceeded to lay in bed cuddling my dog for ten minutes thinking about my workday. I’m a Content Creator for Traxion, an entity of Motorsport Games. My inner journalist is happy because I’m able to tell compelling stories that go beyond the grid (see what I did there) by focusing on the humanity behind the sport.
After a solid session of snuggles with Ruxin, my Puggle, I usually grab my phone and catch up on social media.
Facebook is one I tend to avoid lately, but something inside of me felt the urge to look at my “On this day” feature. I clicked and instantly felt nostalgic.
Seven years ago, I was hired for my first journalism internship.
At the time, I was completing my Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and took every assignment very seriously. I’ve always loved writing and knew I’d have a career with it someday. When I was little, I used to interview my stuffed animals—each with a unique diary entry tucked away in my nightstand drawer. Honestly, I wasn’t always the greatest at voicing my feelings back then (and even now), so I used written words as my escape from reality.
When I was 21 years old, I decided I wanted to be a journalist. Not just any kind of journalist, though. I dreamt of being a reporter for the Vancouver Canucks.
I grew up just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. At the time, I didn’t follow many sports. It was hockey or bust. My favourite line will forever be the West Coast Express, which consisted of Markus Näslund, Brendan Morrison, and Todd Bertuzzi. I used to have a Canucks blog (Google "Cryssy Canuck" if you want a good laugh) and promised myself that I would be in the press box soon after obtaining my degree.
Well, that dream shifted big time when I started dating a boy who was obsessed with the San Francisco 49ers.
By the way, this was back in the Alex Smith days, so you know it was real. The boy showed me videos of Patrick Willis on YouTube and instantly, I was hooked. After Willis’ E60 interview aired on TV, I fell in love with the players behind the sport.
At the time, my boyfriend started physically and mentally abusing me. I felt insignificant most days, but watching Willis overcome his adversities and achieve his wildest dreams lit a fire inside of me to keep going.
I’ll never forget being at a Starbucks one cold afternoon in January, typing away furiously in hopes of meeting my 3pm article deadline for a Citizen Journalism class.
A man tapped me on the shoulders.
“Are you a journalist?”
Not yet, I said.
I explained my situation and how I had two years left in my degree. He then asked me if I was writing for any publications at the time.
Of course not.
The truth is, between my roller coaster of a relationship, school and working full-time at a bar, I could barely keep my head above the surface. I wanted to graduate with amazing grades in order to land an internship as soon as I walked off that commencement stage.
The man told me about his own career in journalism. He was the Sports Editor at Vancity Buzz, an online social blog for events and concerts in Vancouver. The advice he gave me was a defining moment for my career.
“Take every opportunity you’re afforded in journalism. Even if they’re unpaid. Hell, try and get an internship right now so you’re ahead of the game when you graduate. It’ll be a lot of work, trust me. But you won’t regret it.”
I went home that night and applied to every single journalism internship I could find on the internet.
Not even two days later, I received an email back from 604 Now, one of Vancity Buzz’s biggest competitors. I remember crying while reading the words that would inherently change my life:
I believe you’d make a great editorial intern and would like to officially welcome you to the 604 Now team.
That email lives in my Inbox forever, because every so often I like to read it aloud to myself and embrace just how far I’ve come since that day. Despite all odds against me, I landed my first gig in journalism.
To top it all off with a big, red cherry, I was afforded the chance to write about sports. So, in my naturally cheeky fashion, I coined The Bandwagoner's Guide to Super Bowl 49, which featured my most loathed team, the Seattle Seahawks.
Who knew that debut article would be a foreshadowing of my future in sports journalism.
My journey throughout my career led me down some incredible paths. And I have to say, had it not been for the asshole ex-boyfriend, I wouldn’t be typing this right now. In fact, I would have never fallen in love with the San Francisco 49ers had it not been for him. Which is such a weird thing to admit.
After seeing my “On this Day” post, I spent most of the day reminiscing and reading my old articles. I watched YouTube videos and my first sports reel featuring clips from my time as a Hockey Host for the Delta Ice Hawks. In those moments, I always thought I wasn’t good enough to be in sports. I felt like an imposter most of the time. And a lot of my lack of confidence had sprouted from the insecurities I dealt with daily in that relationship.
But looking back, I see a girl with so much drive.
Even on my worst days, I got out of bed and made shit happen for my career. I used every ounce of pain I had ever endured to fuel the fire constantly growing inside of me.
I knew I deserved more for myself and that alone gave me the strength to keep going. And I can honestly say, had it not been for that dream of being a 49ers reporter someday, I wouldn’t have accomplished every milestone—big or small—along the way.
One of those milestones was finding myself amongst a community of like-minded 49ers fans: the Faithful.
My mentality to never quit is something I learned from being a San Francisco 49ers fan. Not only does the team continue to get up no matter how many times they fall, but this fanbase has given me a home after so many years of feeling like I didn’t belong.
Isn’t that what being Faithful is all about? Staying true to yourself and to your community, even when faced with some really terrible things in life. However, giving up just isn’t an option.
These days, being a fan of something is so much more than just cheering for your favourite team. It’s cheering for each other. And after experiencing this emotional season alongside the Faithful, for the 49ers to be where they are right now is truly mesmerizing. Sure, the lows may be really flippin' low. Those wins, though?
They feel f—ing great, baby.
By the way, this entire article was sparked by me wanting to focus on one major positive heading into this weekend against the LA Rams: the Faithful.
Y'all are the reason for the Red Out; the reason Matt Stafford's wife went looney tunes on a podcast about how he had to do a silent count...that's how loud the Faithful were in the Rams house. Scratch that, the Niners house.
At this point, we're 1/4 teams left out of 32 after starting the season 3-5.
We're still here, while Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers sit alongside us on the couch, watching the final four NFL teams. We're still here. Now, we can sit around and pick on Jimmy G's INTs and his constant trips to Fumble City. We can compare apples to oranges, really, because all those elite QBs aren't where Jimmy Jawline is right now. He may not be "elite" like the aforementioned.
But he's an elite leader.
The talk surrounding Garoppolo has, at times, divided our Faithful fanbase. I choose to focus on how he's united us, though. And this playoff run, paired with the dedication so many of the fans have to fly from all over the USA...the world, even...just to show up in that stunning scarlet red and glorious gold, and completely take over another team's stadium is impressive, to say the least.
That other team had to cry to Ticketmaster just to limit sales to the Faithful. And they call us the 40-Whiners? Mary had a little lamb for a reason.
So, to continue the Red Out, I thought I'd end this long-ass story about my own Faithful-ness, with your stories, too. This season has been absolutely nutty, but all of you (for the most part, lol) have been an anchor amidst the storm.
Thumbnail image credit: Yahoo Sports