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Blog: Another Sunday Spent Paralyzed. Thanks, Alex.

(originally written 11/16/10)

Remember the show Cheers?


There was an episode where Cliff, the mama’s-boy mailman, presented Rebecca, the attractive bar owner/manager, with a thoughtful gift (as I recall).


Rebecca surprised Cliff with a grateful kiss atop his mustached lips.


Now, attractive women were to Cliff what a 34-inch waist is to me—entirely out of reach. 

The kiss stunned Cliff so greatly, he was rendered paralyzed on his feet for hours, long after the bar had closed. His speech was reduced to babble more appropriate for a drugging victim.


Remember the show Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper? Of course you do.


One episode had Mark visited by a former school teammate (played by Reggie Miller). Back in their school days, this teammate had left Mark wide open under the hoop while he sank a game-winning shot, bringing him all sorts of glory. Mark never got over it.


The two would team up again, I think it was faculty vs. students or something like that. History repeated itself exactly: Mark waited under the hoop, wide-open, for a pass—but the pass never came. His teammate again sank the game-winner from the same spot. Long after the game ended and everyone had left, there was Mark, in shock, still standing under the hoop waiting for the pass that would, sadly, never come. “He did it to me again…he did it to me again.”


(I usually regret that I spent so much of my youth in front of the TV but right now it’s coming in handy, because you need a visual to fully understand what I’m about to explain to you.)


Since I’m not here to talk about the past, fast forward to October 10, 2010. According to the Chinese, the luckiest day around.

Not if you’re a 49er. Or (like me) a 49er fan.


There I am, watching as the Niners made their move against the Eagles, who got off to a 10-7 lead. A gaping hole in the run defense upped it to 17-7. San Fran had a chance to bring it to within four just before halftime, but Joe Nedney, our usually reliable kicker who’d just made a 50-yarder, simply shanked it wide right.


Looking back, that should have been the first indication of what was about to happen to me. Kind of like how certain animals can sense when an earthquake is imminent, I should have been able to sense that paralysis was on my horizon when Nedney missed that field goal. I stood there with my hands on my head, agape, but after about a minute snapped out of it.


After all, there were still 30 minutes of football left, and the gap was just seven.


It remained 17-10 into the 4th. The 49ers were putting together a decent enough drive until Alex Smith, ol’ #11, “did it to us again”. He was chased out of the pocket toward the sideline for what felt like a whole year. I was begging him to either throw it away or just go down—we’ve all seen this too many times from him and other recent Niner QB’s in the recent past.


Alex didn’t listen. He basically dropped the ball, the way a person would drop a steak to get a vicious oncoming dog off his scent. About five Eagles (and no 49ers) were in the area. Touchdown Philly. 24-10 lead, Philly.


I channeled the late Jack Buck, except I whispered rather than yelled. “I don’t believe what I just saw. I don’t believe what I just saw!...Is this really happening, Josie (my kid)?”


And that’s when the paralysis hit. I couldn’t move.

Just couldn’t move.

It was too shocking.

The same thing happened last week when Nate Clements fumbled against the Falcons after basically CEMENTING a win with an interception.


That fumble cost me an hour of my life as my body struggled to cope with what should have been the first 49er win of 2010. This one would do the same. If I’d been in the shower, I would have drowned.


Only this team can do this to me. In fact, the only other time I’ve been so afflicted by temporary paralysis was when I bumped into Jerry Rice at the Crystal Springs Golf Course in 2004. You can imagine how badly I wanted to say “hello”. But I was afraid if I spoke, something incoherent like “Ooga booga billy woof” would come out. So I said nothing.


The game went on, and the 49ers actually made a spirited comeback in the final minutes. I know this because I was frozen in place, hands on my head, in front of the TV—still not over Smith’s fumble. A buddy would send me text messages and I somehow answered them before immediately returning to my stunned paralysis.


The game ended, and my then-sweetie changed the channel. She and the baby had dinner. I remained paralyzed, staring at the screen, even though it now showed Food Network rather than football. She and the baby went to bed. She told me goodnight. I mumbled “Xugghtp” or something similar. Josie kissed me, fighting the urge to yank on my frozen arms.


Somehow I got to bed because I woke up there. That stupid fumble cost me at least 1-2 hours of my conscious life. If I’d been outside, there’d be BIRD POO all over me. Surely some lowlife would have snatched my wallet and phone. Not to mention the graffiti.


So thanks a lot, Alex Smith and the 49ers, for giving me premature rigor-mortis for the second straight week. My elbows hurt from being locked in place and it’s all your fault. I’d sue you, but you’d probably just fumble my judgment down a manhole or something…

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