Some people's stories of the beginning of their fandom will be inspirational, emotional, even beautiful. That is not me. Being from Ireland, there was hardly much of a football culture growing up, except for that played by 11 weird men with a round ball. No, my first experience of the NFL was a PSP (yes I know, they used to be cool, trust me) I was bought from the internet - it came with a couple of games, WWE Smackdown - literally the best thing 7 year old me had witnessed - and some weird game called Madden (2006 or so).
I was intrigued. No sooner had I finished prancing around the ring when I decided to investigate this weird foreign sport. I was prompted to select my favourite team, confronted with a series of weird looking logos. One of them was red and gold and I knew it looked wicked. I knew these guys were gonna be awesome (I mean this was the mid-2000s 49ers, but anything's awesome if you press 'easy' mode and believe in yourself).
So I played it, and soon started to understand this sport. It was great - I could throw a ball really long distances, and then when the other ones got the ball I could hit them really hard. 'Twas a simpler time, when my only worries in life were my inability to properly colour in without going outside the lines and my weird obsession with a video game of a foreign sport. Alas, it wasn't to last.
Skip a few years, and my infatuation with this sport was gone. I was a 'normal' teenager (how dull) and played rugby. Then one Sunday night in February at about midnight, a program came on Channel 4 - 'Superbowl 47'. All my old favourites who I'd enjoyed on a 5 inch wide screen were gone, and these guys were good. Not good enough to win, but still. They were good. As I went to bed at around 4:30 am, I knew I was hooked. In the next few months I trawled the internet, reading everything I could find about 'my team' (weirdly not encountering this blog til a few months ago), and buying the most recent edition of Madden. By the time the 2013 season started I was a fan of the Niners, despite having only watched one game live on TV. Life is weird.
Over the next few years I've grown and matured as a fan. I've cheered on (mostly 2013), been disappointed by (2014-), and gone to school and then work utterly drained after a primetime game because of MY 49ers. And damn it's felt good