Interview of David Bonilla Senior Editor
By Greg Wyshynski
Sports Fan Magazine

Greg: When and how did you begin rooting for your team? Were other members of your family fans already?

David: "My father has been a Niner fan since the late 50's, so there is no way for me to say exactly when I started being at fan. I've grown up knowing who the 49ers are and the proud tradition that they had as I grew up, which was great considering the tough years that my father had to endure. I didn't start getting into football until the early 90's when I finally started to understand the complexity and strategy of the game itself. This team was by far one of the most impressive I had seen in my lifetime."

Greg: What was your greatest memory as a fan?

David: "While most 49ers fans say their favorite moment was a game winning catch from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark to beat Dallas and take the 49ers to the Super Bowl, my favorite moment is more recent. The Wildcard playoff win over the Green Bay Packers was a victory that will always be remembered. That was the fans' Super Bowl. Finally beating a team that had dominated us for years. It didn't matter that we didn't make it to the big show that year. That Young to Owens catch was this generation's Montana to Clark catch."

Greg: What was your least favorite memory as a fan?

David: "My least favorite moment as a fan was not the entire 1999 fall of a dynasty as most young fans will answer. My least favorite moment was seeing my favorite player, Steve Young, go down in the Arizona desert heat and knowing deep down, that he would probably never take a snap again."

Greg: Devoting the kind of time it takes to follow a club as passionately as you do is commendable. What keeps you going? What keeps you coming back year after year?

David: "I come back year after year because that's what true fans do. True fans follow their team that they have grown up with and watched every Sunday for over a third of each year. They wait for great moments that will stay in your memories forever."

Greg: As a 49ers fan, you're in an interesting spot. You've had more success as a franchise than most in professional sports, yet now it seems the team has taken a down-turn. If the 49ers do go into a prolonged funk, how will you deal with it? Wallow in nostalgia? When will losing start to infringe on the great memories you've had of the team?

David: "You have to always remember your team's great moments in history. But you can't stay with that forever. You must also stay in the present. Everyone views the 49ers as this great team that has ruled over the NFL for as long as they can remember. But you have to remember, this team was very bad for a long time before they got a taste of success. What of those fans that gave their support through those tough times (like my father). Those are the fans that you must commend. Not the fans that make whoever won the Super Bowl each year their favorite team. The true Rams fans are getting theirs now. A team that was bad for so long is now forming it's own dynasty. With time, the 49ers will be back. You have to believe. And when they are back, I want to be one of the true fans that can say, "I was there through the tough times." It's true I am not used to this team losing. I've come to expect more wins than losses each and every year. This team is young and hungry. And you have to look at the talent that could be there in a few years and believe that they will make you proud again."

Greg: How do you cope with disappointment in every day life, and how does it compare to the way you cope with disappointment in sports?

David: "Disappointment in life is one thing. Football is a game and should be viewed as such. While I do follow it with a passion, it is not the most important thing in my life. I'll admit, there have been Sundays where I will jump for joy at a last second touchdown and stand there proud of my team for fighting for what they want. There have also been times where I am angry at my team for falling apart at the last minute to lose a game. But you have to remember, it's just a game. The game is there for you to escape your life's problems and worries for 3 hours a week."

Greg: If you had to design a plan for "how to root for a loser," what would be some of the suggestions you'd make to other fans and why?

David: "Tough question, yet a simple answer. Don't stop believing. Strange things happen in this game. Keep the faith and stick by your team and support them. Let people know that you are the true fan and never be ashamed. Because on any given Sunday, your team could surprise you and make you proud."