My team-colored socks matched my shoes, jersey, hat and seat cushions. I had two cushions to prop me up to see over the normal-sized people in front of me.
I was just starting first grade, yet I knew the entire roster. My father and I didn’t interact much during the games, aside from the occasional high-five, because we were both listening the AM broadcast on our headset radios. There wasn’t time for conversation. We had to focus. We talked plenty during the hourlong trips to games in the car, anyway.
Football very much shaped my childhood. My parents were going through a divorce right around this time, and Sundays in the fall were my respite. I don’t remember their split impacting me on an emotional level because I was hardened by pigskin (and the steak sandwiches or hot dogs that came with it). It was my normal, healthy or not.
Years later I’ve become lucky enough to turn that passion into profession. I’m thrilled to say I’m joining The Sacramento Bee to cover the San Francisco 49ers.
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My career in sports began as an athlete. Like so many high school kids, I had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. I played year round. I missed dances — and other critical stages in which normal people developed social skills — to play baseball for my local traveling team. Christmas breaks were spent in Southern California motels. Saturday afternoons were spent playing double headers.
But when my non-impressive baseball career ended after redshirting at a junior college, I decided to try tapping into the skill set my parents valued even more than ability to hit a baseball 400 feet in between countless strikeouts. I took up writing.
It started with joining my school paper to cover the team I failed to make. It was natural given I knew everyone. The coach appreciated my transition because I was no longer on his depth chart. I became sports editor a few months later and fell in love with the idea of working on a newspaper.
That led to a degree in journalism, which led to blogging about minor-league baseball (in Sacramento, mostly), which eventually led to carving out my own path on the 49ers beat in 2013. Now I’m here and couldn’t be more appreciative for the opportunity.
My sixth year covering the team will be with my third different outlet. Over time, I’ve learned how to reach people through journalism who share the same passion about football I had in my youth.
Our goal is to provide readers everything they look for when they pick up the paper — or, more likely, phones, laptops or tablets. We want to build your knowledge of the team with unique ways to look at breaking news and analysis, while also telling you about who these 49ers are, going beyond the names and the numbers.
I’m here for readers because I know what it’s like when my socks match my seat cushions. I was the first-grader who knew the players because I picked up the paper.
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