I usually write my grocery list in my notes app. Instead, I decided to give this whole 49ers blogger thing a crack again while that ass-whoopin’ is still fresh in my mind.
Look, I’ll be honest: the 49ers were awful in their first preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders. They looked like a bunch of high schoolers who had just come back from summer break and were struggling to recover from a two-month bender.
One that cost them a 34-7 loss to Vegas.
Thankfully, it’s only preseason.
However, as a fan of that beautiful brown ball flying through the air, the YACs and the sacks (for our D only), and the “feels great, baby” interviews, I had this game circled on my calendar for the entire offseason.
Well, once the schedule dropped, that is.
Jimmy Garoppolo became a Raider on March 13th. I’ll never forget the day. No, not because I have a tattoo in his honour. Or due to his chiselled jawline and devilishly handsome face. I remember announcing my daughter’s birth, which happened three days prior, that same evening Jimmy’s tenure with the 49ers came to an end.
When I saw Adam Schefter's Tweet, I immediately texted my dad.
“looks like i’m buying you a jimmy Garoppolo raiders jersey,” followed by a fancy graphic of the breaking news.
“Love it,” he said.
“please take care of him.”
For the record, I did buy him a badass black and silver kit—Garoppolo across the back, just like my favourite red and white I’d rock for nearly every San Francisco game since he joined the squad.
10 will live on forever thanks to my baby’s birthday. A much better reason for loving that number, anyway.
Dad’s been a Raiders fan since the Oakland era. 1984 was the first year he pledged allegiance to his American football team, actually.
And despite some of my mom’s family from Frisco cheering for the 49ers, he chose the dark side. A cheeky move that goes against his usual wholesomeness, to be honest.
Nearly 40 years later, he’s sitting on his couch in Italy watching those two teams battle it out, sitting alongside his Faithful daughter, while her own lil baby girl sleeps in a crib upstairs.
Life is pretty, pretty wild.
I metaphorically pinch myself daily that my dad and mom are residing here with me in this small town on Lago Maggiore. Dad and I stayed up past our bedtimes to watch second stringers—and third and fourth (thanks, Brandon Allen) compete on the gridiron in hopes of wowing their coaches enough to make the final 53.
My father’s been fighting, too.
Last year, he was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a rare form of cancer stemming from a mutated gene (promyelocytes) that overproduces and accumulates in the bone marrow. APL affects only 3,000 people each year in the United States, which makes it extremely rare.
Coach Chuck Pagano had the same leukemia. Most recently, so does John Metchie III of the Houston Texans.
I mention this because while I watched a disastrous 49ers football game unfold in front of my eyes, dad and I still found ways to laugh and debate the greatest players of all time.
“Charles Woodson, now he was an awesome Raider,” he said.
The broadcast camera panned to him right after, as if the TV’s built in Siri had been eavesdropping on our convo and magically added curated content for my dad’s benefit.
I’ve missed watching sports with him. It’s definitely a tough thing to coordinate on this side of the world, given our game kicked off at 10pm the night before an important hospital visit for my daddio.
He goes to a cancer clinic in Novara where the doctors truly treat him like family and take care of him enough to ensure he’s around for Raiders vs. 49ers games.
And cuddles with his granddaughter, Ariana, too.
To me, that’s what football’s always been about. The moments that happen off the field; the memories you make with loved ones while watching your team’s kicker—who was drafted in the third round, by the way—miss two FGs.
Relax, it’s just preseason.
Jake Moody will find his footing and make those 58-yarders look easy peasy one day, like Robbie Gould used to. Trey Lance will pump the brakes on his nerves and make the quick passes we all praised Jimmy for.
He did throw a weird touchdown that should have been an INT, yet somehow ended up in the hands of Ross Dwelley. They don’t call him Da Boss for nothing.
And Hey Darnold may not be him…again. But that’s okay, we’ve got Allen in line, as well.
Accountability has always been huge for me. And that’s something Lance surely has. He never places blame on those around him. Even though he could have thrown the entire offensive line under the bus.
Just kidding. Well, not really.
Regardless of the shitstorm, I saw promise out of players like Ambry Thomas and Ronnie Bell. As always, there’s silver linings in each failure that keep us warm at night, like a weighted blanket and a fantastic glass of Malbec.
As much as us Couch Potato GMs judge and pick apart all the preseason misplays our heart can handle, we’re all just watching from the sidelines while these guys—our team we love and support—play in the NFL. Preseason or not, that’s an incredible feat.
These games really aren’t that big of a deal.
The moments around them, however…well, those are pretty special.
My dad hugged me after the demolition finally came to a halt.
“It’s just practice, Cryssy. Goodnight, love you.”
God, I’m so lucky he’s still here to watch these games with me. He listened to me empathize with Lance’s situ. He chuckled when I yelled, “HEY DARNOLD!” at the screen.
And he even endured not one, but two, “Wow, Jimmy G is the hottest QB in the NFL,” outbursts, too. Not all heroes wear capes; mine just so happens to wear a Raiders jersey. Sure, Las Vegas got the W.
But I won the jackpot when it comes to dads.
Now, bring on Broncos Country – Let’s ride!
Feature photo courtesy of 49ers.com