Acting like an animal in front of Emmitt Smith 

click to enlarge Emmitt Smith
  • George Rose/1995 Getty Images file photo
  • Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith (22) battles for yards in a 1994 NFC Championship Game at Candlestick. Not pictured: a foul-mouthed drama student aping a gorilla.
I wore a hairy costume to the only 49ers game I’ve ever seen in person, and it was memorable for many reasons. The costume did not include a wide-brimmed hat, a pick or a gold pan, and it had nothing to do with football.

That game, the 1994 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys, sticks in my memory for lots of reasons. None have anything to do with what happened on the field.

I don’t remember much about the game except that the 49ers won 38-28.

What I do remember is that I dressed up as a gorilla, danced in the halftime show on the field and managed to insult the mother of Cowboys star running back Emmitt Smith.

For the record, I am sorry I insulted his mom.

At the time, I thought my fanatical expletive had an impact on the Niners’ victory. Sadly, I’ve come to realize that’s likely impossible.

Anyway, how did a 15-year-old dressed as a gorilla manage to get onto the green at Candlestick Park without a ticket?

Simple — drama class.

It was my sophomore year in high school and my drama class was asked to come to the game and dance around in costume. So, of course, I volunteered.

I don’t know how I came to be wearing a gorilla suit, but I gladly donned the hot, rubber gorilla mask and jumped around the football field during the halftime show.

The insults came later, minus the mask.

Smith ran back onto the field after the show and I was among a throng of hometown fans barraging him and his team with insults. Maybe I got caught up in the moment or was a little too much “in character” when I said something horrible about his mom, which I will not repeat in the pages of this family newspaper.

At any rate, I thought my barb had an impact on the rest of his game.

Upon further review and reflection, that impact may have been marginal at best.

Aside from the fact that Smith did still manage to score the third of his three touchdowns in the second half of the game, a recent interview may be more telling of the former player’s state of mind that day. In the interview, he recalled the losing game as one of his most memorable football experiences, one in which his team pulled together despite the loss.

“To me, I got a chance to see and feel the heart and soul of the game and that was a wonderful, wonderful experience,” Smith said in the April interview.

So there goes my theory.

From now on, I’ll stick to cheering for my team instead of insulting the opposition.

Um, go Niners, I guess.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Bio:
Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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