Fooch's Update: For those of you posting this link as "proof" that Ronnie is not in need, you are misinterpreting what this article was about. Stop using it as so-called proof of anything.
Fooch's Note: Alex Carson is a 49ers fan up in Seattle who is going to begin contributing at NN, and this seemed like an ideal first story. Alex grew up in the Central Valley of California, moving to Seattle in January of 1995 -- two weeks before Super Bowl XXIX. He's written about baseball for four years, mostly covering the Mariners and their minor league system. The picture comes from @X_Khan1
Things tend to move an accelerated pace on the Internet these days.
On a day when 700,000 Seahawks fans choked their city's infrastructure -- packing it's core for the first parade to celebrate a major sports title since 1979 -- most fans of the San Francisco 49ers chose an out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach to the festivities.
Then, someone emerged from the crowd. Decked out in red and gold, a few photos were snapped and launched into a viral state through social media. First, he parted fans in blue in a way not seen since the same was done to a sea of red. Next, he was captured grinning as angry on-lookers scowled in his direction. He even marched straight down the parade route, in the street, leaving those on the sidewalk in disbelief.
This is the story of Ronnie Andrews and how he achieved Faithful fame.
Ronnie is actually from the Seattle area, having been born and raised here. While interest is high in the local team now, it was the 49ers that he watched with his father growing up. Ever since, he's maintained loyalty to the boys from the Bay.
"I wanted to go to the parade to show everyone who I was," Andrews started to explain. "To show that I was a Niner fan."
Andrews lives in Kirkland. That's a city on the east side of the greater Seattle metropolitan area, an affluent portion of the region. But he isn't living it big time. He's a youngster, still in school, and doesn't have a car. Actually, he's only 15 years old -- so he doesn't even have a driver's license.
So, on the bus he hopped, making the trek into the Emerald City. He had thoughts of raining on a parade that was otherwise being conducted underneath a cloudless sky.
Certainly, the day wasn't ruined for the nearly three quarters of a million "12s," but the kid clad in Niners gear was definitely noticed.
"I had skittles thrown at me," was his first recollection of their treatment of him. Of course that would be the weapon of choice, as Seattle fans came prepared to shower star running back Marshawn Lynch with his favorite treat.
Andrews continued, "[They] said I should taste the rainbow." Then came more edible ammo. "Coffee, peanuts and other things. And got booed and told the Niners suck."
Your standard fare of out-of-town-fan treatment, really. They weren't all mean, however. Some Hawks fans gave him his due props.
"So many of them said I had balls," he beamed. "They shook my hand and said I was a true fan."
While this moment of courage was going on, Andrews had no idea he was becoming a social media star. As people sought his identity on Twitter and posted his photos on Facebook, the kid just kept trucking. He wanted to get to an area to get the players attention, but the crowds were too big and unfriendly.
After three hours and achieving a troll level of expert, he called it a day and headed out of the madness that surrounded downtown.
Sean Wise is a Niners fan, too. He grew up in California, going to training camps in Rocklin with his dad and the whole bit. He moved to Seattle in 1982, just after the club's first Super Bowl victory, but he's maintained his loyalty all along.
So when Wise saw a kid decked out in red and gold board the light rail train he was on, he had to talk to him. Of course, it was Ronnie.
Andrews had no clue he had achieved such Internet fame. Wise tried to show him, but being in a tunnel under a city whose cell towers were being choked equaled no cell service. Trust me, Wise told him. Just look it up when you get home. It's everywhere.
I've never believed it right to judge the fandom of another. We all root in different ways. I also don't know if there will ever be a definitive book written on how one can earn the label of being a Niner Faithful.
But I think Ronnie Andrews may have just penned the first chapter.