The Santa Clara 49ers?

I like waffles. Sometimes, I like to waffle. When it comes to whether or not I want the 49ers to move to Santa Clara, just pour syrup over my head and grab a fork and knife.

This issue is so frustratingly simple - really pecuniary interests are the only complexities - and yet, I want to make it complex. I want other people to agonize over whether or not the Niners should move. Most everybody I've talked to have pretty clear opinions on this issue, that is if they are a Niners fan. My dad thinks it would be cool for them to move to Santa Clara: it would be a nicer stadium and a closer drive for the family to get to games.

For me, though, (and I suspect for some of you) this issue is fraught with conflicting rules and regulations about how to think, and this drives me bonkers. I feel like a psychological experiment, some sorry subject boiling over with unbridled fandom in a sick laboratory. This ain't no Billy Nye run laboratory, too. It's scary.

At the end of the day, I just can't make up my mind: the rational part of my brain has already ceded that Santa Clara is the way to go, but then the deep, dark underbelly of my emotions cannot relinquish the tenuous grasp it has upon my heart. I really just don't want the 49ers to leave San Francisco.

Follow me after the jump to get some hot and sexy psychoanalysis on (Bow Chicka Wow Wow!).

In his 1933 supplement to his original lectures, Sigmund Freud writes that the id is:

the dark, inaccessible part of our personality ... We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations ... It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.[1]

Ooh... Can't you just feel those instincts coursing through you? Don't try and fight it. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. Nobody here wants the 49ers to move out of San Francisco. Nobody! NOBODDDDDYYYYY!

Come on! Relish in those emotions! Let your instincts kick in! Quick: word associate with me. San Francisco? 49ers!, you shout. They belong together. Feel that adrenaline coursing through your veins. It feels good, doesn't it? That's truth right there. That's why the 49ers can't leave the city. There are songs about. Name me a song about Santa Clara. If there isn't a song about a city then it doesn't deserve a football team.

Plus they've been their your entire football life. The 49ers: born and raised in San Francisco. Do you want them to leave the city of Joe Montana? Steve Young? Ronnie Lott? The GOAT?

Grasp onto the chaos! Subsume the cauldron full of seething excitations! Make it part of who you are, because your id is all you are!

Now laugh maniacally with me! MUAHAHAHAHA.

Whew. Time to take a deep breath. Let's take a step back from our collective ids for a moment to make a point. There is a part of me that whips up into a frenzy every time I think about the 49ers moving to Santa Clara - or anywhere that isn't San Francisco, for that matter.

A good friend of mine worked for the Gavin Newsom for Governor campaign for awhile, and I used to joke that he would have my vote if he found a way to keep the 49ers in San Francisco. Now, this obviously isn't an excuse for us to launch into political talk (keep it civil, guys!) by any means, but I just wanted to bring up this example to show how absolutely irrational I can be about this team moving. I would be willing to sell away probably my greatest civic tool for change for my sports team.

So, yes, my emotionally driven instincts compel me to embrace this feeling of nostalgia. Is it misguided? I don't know, but there is a certain comfort and sincerity in tradition that I don't want to let go. The 49ers have a strong claim to the "greatest football dynasty" and part of that tradition is the City. We should all be sad to let that go.

This feeling is in contrast to my more rational understand of the situation. Freud, in his chapter "The Ego and the Id" from On Metapsychology, describes the ego as a man on a horse:

The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions ... in its relation to the id it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength, while the ego uses borrowed forces.[2]

I must keep my rational mind at the forefront of thought, in this regard. I think it is easy to let the horse gallop out of control: it's an exhilarating feeling, just as emotional ranting is.

But, at the end of the day, I understand that a stadium in Santa Clara is much better for the team, both as a sports team and a business. In fact, the two are hardly separate.

A new stadium represents an increased source of income; it represents greater parking and less traffic; a stadium in Santa Clara (hopefully) represents less crime without excluding certain groups of people for lower socio-economic areas.

Perhaps more importantly, though, it represents the creation of a new tradition, with an eye toward the old one. We will still be the San Francisco 49ers and we will still be in touch with our Walshian roots. But, we will be in Silicon Valley, the heart of California's tomorrow.

So, I'm torn. Rationally, I want to go with Jed and help him break ground. I don't want to let go of my instincts, though. I don't want to let go of the instincts which tell me to grasp at whatever proverbial straws I can until 49ers remain in San Francisco.

Only time will tell which argument wins out. I have to imagine that in the long-run my rational side will. It will be hard to go to Santa Clara, to an awesome new, state-of-the-art facility and not rejoice. But there's no way I won't be nostalgic whenever I darn well please.



[1] Freud, Sigmund. New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Vol. 2. New York: Penguin Freud Library, 1991. Print. Pages 105-106.

[2] Freud, Sigmund. On Metapsychology: the Theory of Psychoanalysis. London: Penguin, 1991. Print. Pages 363-364

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