Barring a miracle, Candlestick Park will host its final major sporting event on Monday night. When the teams walk off the field and the lights go dark, all that will be left are the memories of great teams, great games, triumph and heartbreak.
Like many, I am excited to see the team move into their sparkling new stadium in Santa Clara, but that doesn't mean that I also won't miss The Stick. As a Bay Area native, I was fortunate enough to have been a 49ers season ticket holder from the time I was 12 in 1986 until 2005.
Along the way, I was there for the great comeback against the Saints in 1980, my first 49ers game. I ran across the field to celebrate clinching the NFC West division title when the 49ers defeated the Giants in the 1981 regular season, a piece of the turf sat in a pizza box in our garage for almost 10 years.
Who can forget the phantom sack of Jim Everett in the 1990 NFC Championship Game, or the amazing play by Ronnie Lott to break up a deep Everett pass earlier in that game? Remember the euphoria of finally beating the Cowboys during the 1994 regular season, and then jumping out to a quick 21 point lead against them in the Championship game at the end of that year? How about the Catch II by Terrell Owens to defeat the Packers or the crazy comeback to defeat the Giants? I was lucking enough to have witnessed many of the biggest moments in NFL history.
Along with the amazing triumphs, I will never forget the heartbreak I felt walking out of that stadium following the loss to Minnesota in 1987, or in January 1991 when the Giants ripped our hearts out and took away the 3-peat.
For me, the biggest moment may have come during an otherwise meaningless regular season game on October 24, 1993. The 49ers beat the Cardinals 28-14 that day. No big deal, they were supposed to do that. What makes that special is that I was on a date with a girl from college. It was our first date. Little did I know where that would lead.
During this preseason, that girl and I would go back to The Stick one last time, only this time we had 3 young boys with us making their first trip to a 49ers game.
Please take a minute to share your memories of Candlestick Park.