Maybe it's because of the team's recent success, falling just short of a Super Bowl title this past February. Perhaps it's due to the exciting play of QB Colin Kaepernick with his long sprints and laser-like throws. I'm not sure what it is, I just know that lately, it seems that everywhere I go, I find 49ers fans.
I bought a cheap boat this weekend, just an aluminum fishing boat with a little motor on the back. Took the family out yesterday on a small lake nearby and wouldn't you know it, had engine trouble. Like an idiot I didn't bring a few tools with me, or I could have got us going. Instead we were paddling along, waving our arms at anyone with an operational boat, hoping for a tow back to the dock.
Finally we were spotted by a family in a much larger boat. We paddled to where it was deep enough for them to meet us and throw a rope. The first thing the one guy said was, "Don't worry, I'm a 49ers fan, too."
So in a way, the 49ers got us out of a jam, I guess.
Then there was last Friday when my wife and I went out to dinner at a fairly nice restaurant (ie. not a chain, the waiters wear a tie). I immediately noticed that our server looked like Alex Smith, quite a bit. When I got up to go to the bathroom I told me wife that if he came back, to ask him if he follows the NFL at all (otherwise it would be lost on him to even mention the likeness to Alex).
When I got back to the table, she said that not only does he follow football, but he's a huge 49ers fan who is from Northern California (didn't get specifics). He went so far as to say it used to be embarrassing when people said he looked like Alex, then it wasn't, and yet now he's so excited about Kaepernick.
Of course I gave him the URL for NN and my Twitter handle, as well as the location of the bar where a few of us local 49ers fans watch the games. He said he'd be there for sure this Fall, and that he has read NN a few times. Hopefully he'll show up here and comment below, maybe?
Who are you, 49ers fan, Alex-Smith-lookalike who is a server at JTK Restaurant in Lincoln?!?
I am also pretty sure that during the course of our family vacation last week someone told me that they were also a 49ers fan, and I can recall at least two or three occasions in the last few months where someone pointed it out to me, too. This might seem insignificant to you, but I live in the Midwest, where everyone around here is either a Chiefs, Bears, Vikings, Packers or Broncos fan.
Now, I did notice the bar started to have more and more guys cheering for the 49ers as the last two seasons went on, so I think the success of the team has brought some people out of hiding. Shame on them for being in hiding to begin with, but after the 2000's, can we blame them? I guess not all of us are so brazen in the face of suckitude.
Bottom line is that I'm finding 49ers fans everywhere: On the lake, at restaurants, and just walking around town. It's kinda nice. There really are Niners fans everywhere.