It was such an incredible honor and privilege to be part of the production team in the ceremonial closing of Candlestick Park on December 23, 2013’s Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers!
There were countless memories for so many of us there, and whether you worked at the old stadium for 10 years or for 40, you knew you were in a special place for football. The Catch, The Catch II, the Victory Lap, Vernon Post… all of these great moments happened on the hallowed ground of Bill Walsh Field.
On the last night, after the game had ended and we were down on the field in “The Shack” putting away some equipment, I looked up into the stands. So many fans were still there, not wanting to leave. One of them was imploring the security guards to let him on to the field because all he wanted was one thing: to have Candlestick grass stains on his beloved Steve Young #8 jersey for all time. Well, as you might imagine, the security guards had no choice but to pay him no mind, because it was their job to keep people off the field that night. But, there I was…
I was under no such directive. I had no supervisor right there telling me not to do something very simple: have the guy take off his jersey, throw it down to me and I could rub the turf stains in it for him. Look, I am a professional and all that, but in my heart, I am a fan. Always have been, always will be. Honestly, I believe that that mindset is imperative for someone to do the job that I do well and with passion for the moments that unfold before us in the world of sport…
So there I was. “Take off your shirt, man” I told him. He looked down at me. “Really?” he said. “Yeah man! Throw it to me!” So the shirt came flying down to me out of the stands and off to the field I went, rubbing in some decent grass stains for the fellow and then throwing it back up to him. He was so happy! “I’ll never EVER wash this shirt again!” he said “you made my year, man! Merry Christmas!” he beamed.
And I beamed too, because I thought to myself that this is what it must feel like to be Santa Claus.
Happy Holidays everyone : )