Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not about stamps

People like to make fun of my hometown of San Francisco.

We are a small town, really. Just 42 square yards, we are an eclectic, tolerate town that swells to 2 million on an average work week.

When I graduated from college, I was lucky enough to land a job at a small ad firm in Los Gatos, CA. It was run by a teacher at San Jose State, George Coakley. He had already founded one of the most successful agencies in Silicon Valley and even was one of Gary Dahl's partners when he launched the Pet Rock.

He filled his new firm with eager new graduates from San Jose State. Of course, being fresh out of school we didn't know diddly. But we did a little bit of everything at the agency.

One day I was answering phones and the gentleman asked to speak to George "about our tennis date". It was Bill Walsh. BILL WALSH. George was quite amused at my wonder. (Turns out Bill and George used to be college roommates at SJSU and there were lots of stories about their hi-jinx...)

For years, growing up in San Francisco, people would make fun of our sports teams. Panty-wastes. Fairies. Our football team was especially abysmal. Each year, after a losing season, we would shake our heads and sigh. Resolutely, putting on a brave face. "Next year," we would say, year after year "Next year".

Then, this svelte, dashing, grey haired man became coach.

He would pick up players that were talented, but passed by by other teams. These players were like San Franciso, we thought, not looked at seriously, but they had a lot of heart.

And then, at last, because of this man and his players "Next year" became this year. Finally, we were winners. And we kept winning. All because of this man and his vision. I remember one unbelievable playoff game, Jerry Rice caught a pass and ran down the sideline with seconds to go to win the game. Bill Walsh actually skipped off the field.

When we won our first Superbowl crowds flowed out onto the streets and cars stopped on the roads. We all danced in the streets and no one cared. The city in all its quirkiness and quirky people celebrated. For just a few bright shiny moments we weren't Panty-wastes or Fairies. We were winners.

So much joy. So much excitement. So much pride. So much. So much. And it all started when a
svelte, dashing, grey haired man became coach.


Anonymous said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until september...here is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here

Brenda Smith said...

Wow, It was an amazing journey!

Eleanor said...

I remember those days! He was an amazing person. Thanks for sharing this post.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin