Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy 25th Anniversary, Sprint Right Option

With the NFL conference championships, this weekend represents the 25th anniversary of "The Catch" (actual date: January 10, 1982). San Francisco had just gone through a few tough years, in the aftermath of a pair of bizarre tragedies -- the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone and the People's Temple Jonestown massacre. As incongruous as it sounds now, the rise of the 49ers, culminating in their come-from-behind win in the NFC Championship and subsequent Super Bowl victory, lifted the mood of the entire city for a while. That night, there was a spontaneous outburst of celebration that bordered on rioting, because of the unexpected nature of the victory, following years of 49er futility. I remember how much nicer folks were to each other over the next few months, and I experienced firsthand how a shared vicarious experience like a sports championship changes the way people relate to each other, if only temporarily.