Today my favorite football team, the San Francisco Forty-Niners, play the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. That reminds me of my brush with the 49ers back in 1987, when Joe Montana was quarterback and fellow CPA Ray Wersching was the place kicker.
A client of my accounting practice invited my business partner and me to attend a charity event in San Francisco. The charity was honoring Bill Ring, a 49er who had a Super Bowl ring on his finger, but who was somewhat short and almost didn't make it in the NFL. Ring was very determined to make it and did so, in spite of some very real obstacles. Several forty-niners were there that night, including Ray Wersching, a fellow CPA and the kicker for the 49ers in those days. Leo the Lion Nomilleni was there that night, and I got to say hello and shake his hand. He was an early 49er who played with the team from 1950 to 1963. (He passed away in 2000.) One thing I noticed about the 49er players: they were huge, almost like a separate race of humans. Nomilleni, though old, was still huge too.
To raise funds for the charity, a number of things were being auctioned off, including a football autographed by the entire team, including Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark and Ronnie Lott, and many others. The football was one of those half white, half brown contraptions that allow for signatures with ball point pens. Other auction items included two tickets to a 49ers game and a case of champagne. The Niners players who were present were really hoping to win the champagne. All I wanted was that football.
I walked past the football kept in a glass case, and my mouth was drooling. I really wanted to win that football. I almost willed it, and felt a kind of electricity shooting through me. I had to have it.
A raft of raffle tickets were $10 each, and I was broke, so I told my business partner to buy my tickets and I would pay him back at work the following Monday. He bought two rafts and handed one to me.
When the auction started, various items were auctioned off. The Niners players threw their tickets on the floor in disgust when they didn't win the champagne. Then the football came up. Just before they read the number of the winning ticket, I felt that electricity again. It was kind of an itchy feeling in my head, a knowing. I can't really explain it, but...I knew that I was going to win.
As I was going to the auction table to claim my football, the auctioneer began calling the winning number for the tickets to a 49ers game. No one responded. I couldn't care less, I had the football! But on the way back to my seat, someone said, "hey, check your ticket stubs, maybe you won the game tickets!"
As far as games of chance go, it was the luckiest night of my life. A construction contractor who was there offered me $1,000 for the football. I turned him down cold. I had never won anything before, and haven't won anything since, and I'd be damned if I was going to insult the gods by selling that football.
To this day, I am quite sure my former business partner is gnashing his teeth for giving me the wrong raft of tickets. (I did indeed pay him back the $10 the following Monday, but somehow he didn't seem very pleased to get it.) However, maybe it wasn't the tickets so much, as me temporarily acquiring the skill of psychokinesis for that one night. I felt that I had willed the outcome.
I still have the football, preserved in a square plastic case. As for the outcome of today's game, the Niners had better not rely on my psychokinetic skills. I think I used it all up in that one night.
America is back in business!
21 minutes ago