What to do When Your Kid Dumps the 49ers

Gilbert Brink
Nov 27, 2020 at 7:02 AM


My 6-year-old daughter Gabriela dumped the 49ers this past Sunday. Well, maybe she didn't completely dump them, but she's definitely seeing another football team.

With the 49ers on a bye-week, she insisted that we still watch football. I thought to myself "Man, I raised this one well," but the story took a turn. Gaby said that she wanted to watch the Giants play, stating that was his her second-favorite team because its players wore a G on their helmets. I explained to her that she was actually talking about the Green Bay Packers, a team she watched last week when it beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gaby confirmed that she loved the Green Bay Packers and a minor nightmare of mine was slowly becoming a reality.

I can't blame her. As a 49ers fan, 2019 was one of the most exciting seasons of my lifetime. I'll always remember the first time she legitimately cheered for the 49ers. Slightly over a year ago, she sat on my shoulders as QB Jimmy Garoppolo found RB Jeff Wilson Jr. out of the backfield for a game-winning touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. We sprinted across the living room, her bouncing on my shoulders and smiles plastered across our faces. Watching the Super Bowl with my wife, Gaby and my baby girl Nina will forever be one of my favorite memories, even if it ended with me and Gaby embracing with tears running down our faces because the 49ers didn't win the big one.

What a difference a year makes. Gaby has watched the majority of the 49ers games this season and this team doesn't bring a lot of joy to the viewer. As a child, I went through the same thing she is going through now. My father raised me and my brother to be Giants fans. I still have photos somewhere of the both of us dressed up like Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor in our Hutch football Halloween costumes. Those photos are the lost evidence of my initial indoctrination into football fandom. I distinctly remember the turning point when I dumped the Giants. I recall them losing a game to the Minnesota Vikings in the late eighties, that was the final straw. How could I root for a team that would lose to the Minnesota Vikings? I simply could not, so I went searching for something better and I found Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Roger Craig and I never looked back. I turned in my Phil Simms Halloween costume for a fresh new Joe Montana costume the following year.

I always felt that this would be the fate of my children. This is the history of Brink NFL fanhood. My grandfather was a Cowboys fan, so my father chose the Giants. As hard as my dad tried to make me a Giants fan, I chose the 49ers. Now my beautiful, talented, creative, intelligent, kind, warm-hearted, and amazing daughter Gabriela seems to be choosing the damn Green Bay Packers. Gaby is a smart kid, and 6-year-olds aren't interested in the struggle of fanhood. She recently noticed the Packers were 7-2 and beat the Jaguars, put it all together, and it seems like she was looking for a winner. On one hand it's sad to see her stray from my beloved 49ers. On the other hand, there is a sense of relief that her rebellion didn't lead her to becoming a Seahawks fan. That would be the ultimate betrayal.

What is a 49ers fan to do in this situation? The Green Bay Packers were one of the teams I hated the most as a child. In my adult years, the 49ers have smacked around Aaron Rodgers in every important game they ever played, so the disdain for the Packers has become a little diluted over time. One of my good friends and long-time arch-nemeses, James P, is a die-hard Packers fan. We have been at each other's throats for roughly 20 years over the 49ers/Packers rivalry. How can it be that my sweet little angel from the celestial kingdom is now going to be rooting for those same Green Bay Packers? What am I to do?

There is only one answer I could come up with: support it completely. That sounds disastrous. I've spent the last 6 years trying to condition my little girl to root for the Scarlet and Gold, and now I'm going to support her defection into the world of the cheesehead? Of course I am. The NFL has a pretty cliché slogan "Football is Family." It's cheesy and unimaginative, but for me, it has always been entirely accurate. I love football so much and I hope my girls can fall in love with this game the same way I did. When you become a parent, you learn many lessons along the way. One of the lessons I've taken away from this experience is the importance of letting your child be true to herself and supporting her interests fully. Now don't get me wrong, she states she still loves the 49ers and I have made a dedicated push to encourage her to back both teams. That way she could have two chances at having a good team to root for (though I feel this is sports-fan heresy, it's my only chance of keeping this Niners lifeline pumping). But forcing Gabriela to root for the 49ers won't make her a bigger 49ers fan, it will only teach her to follow my lead and not her heart. She has a tremendous heart, filled with love, curiosity, courage, kindness, and hopefully a growing affinity for the game I love so much. Even if it means she'll be covered in Green & Gold.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


2 Comments

  • JayWilz
    I'd drop the Niners too if my dad made me wear a Kaepernick jersey. Need to update the gear bro.....Kaepernick and Crabtree???? Those days are long gone and not very memorable. RIce? Montana? Young? Lott? Willis? Craig?.....plenty of others before I'd buy before Crabtree and Kaepernick....please update to legit 49ers so she has something to root for.....the fault lies with you if she becomes a Packers fan.
    Dec 2, 2020 at 4:47 PM
    0
    Response: Do the math Shes 6 That picture was from 2014
  • Chris
    This sounds like some NEO-parenting hogwash. My unsolicited advice is "Niners forever" or tell that 6 year old it's no dessert until she sees the err of her ways. Cheers to many more Sundays on the couch watching football with your girls. Before you know it, they're 16, and looking at college. Fun article.
    Nov 27, 2020 at 2:56 PM
    0
    Response: Thanks for reading

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