I was back east and couldn’t attend the World Series parade on Friday. I’m extremely bummed I missed my shot at a pair of Mad Bum jockeys.
These championship celebrations always remind me of the best one: the first Super Bowl win. What helped make that one so great was, after years of mediocrity or worse, it was so unexpected.
I watched halfheartedly the first part of that season since the Niners always fizzled out in the end. As they kept winning I started talking them up to David on our Sunday evening trips to the Midnight Sun. He didn’t care about sports but as momentum built he sensed a moment in history and became a fan.
After the Clark catch we wondered where we would watch the Super Bowl. We wanted to be out in public but the only gay venue with large screen television was the Sun. Gay men were apathetic sports fans at the time, we weren’t sure they’d even show it. We took our chances and went over to the Castro at halftime. It was on and there was a decent crowd.
We drank Cape Cods because the color matched the Niner’s uniforms. After the thrilling victory David and I went out into the street. The crowd of 50 began to grow exponentially. We went into the package liquor store for a pint of Hennessy, then into the Star Pharmacy for all the value packs of toilet paper we could carry. We started tp-ing the intersection. Soon the mob caught on and every available roll in the Castro was hanging on the cross-wires at 18th.
The crowd was now thousands deep. Cars couldn’t get through and Muni, though a little more persistent, gave up too. The driver on the last bus just stopped. He emptied everyone off, locked the doors and abandoned the vehicle.
The vacated bus was a challenge I couldn’t resist. I squeezed through the pneumatic doors and started dancing alone up and down the aisle. The crowd rocked it back and forth. I sat at the controls and got the wipers going. Then the lights flashing and plenty of horn. I realized it was electric and didn’t need a key so I started it and put it in gear. It lunged about 2 feet. I thought “danger zone: drunk, thousands of people, heavy equipment–not good.” I shut it off, opened the doors and the masses streamed on.
David and I went on to other neighborhood celebrations like the bonfires in the Mission and the Broadway crowd in North Beach. It was such an odd feeling, kids who would have beaten me up any other day of the year were high fiving and hugging me that night. The next morning we each woke up with one of those aluminum crowd control barricades in our apartments. We weren’t sure how they got there.
We told our friends about our wild night. David’s version, however, had more legs since he emphasized I “stole” a Muni bus. So effective was he that 20 years later people still asked me, “did you really steal that bus?” As if I’d taken it on the 49 mile scenic drive. I knew better than to trample on a good image, I would just shrug and smile.
Last year I finally asked David what he’d said. He replied sheepishly, “oh, that you drove it to the end of the block.”
I once told my friend Carl about my game day superstitions. Not watching a batter and the guy would get a clutch hit. Scrubbing the bathroom and the Niners would pull out a last-minute victory. He was skeptical, “you really think you have that much power?” Yes, I think I do.
I’ve lived in San Francisco for 42 years. Before I moved here neither the (San Francisco) Giants nor the 49ers had ever won a championship. In the past four decades we’ve won 5 Super Bowls and 3 World Series. If I lose my apartment in the City and am forced to move away, well………
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