Monday, January 31, 2022

Dear Coach Shanahan: Easy Fix...

Dear Coach Shanahan,

Thank you for an incredible season. The  2021-2022 season is one I look back upon with gratitude and deep appreciation. I didn't need Jimmy G to remind us "we were 3-5 and people wrote us off and we kept fighting. I’ve got no regrets from this year." I completely agree. And yet, there is one thing, I want to ask of you as the head coach of a storied franchise and the leader of the Forty Niner faithful. Please take off your hat in post-game conferences.

Though it is a handsome lid, wearing a hat prevents the media and your fans from seeing you and hearing your message. It is hard to make eye contact with a person standing behind a flat bill. Win or lose, you have nothing from which to hide. To me, this gesture compromises your presence. I believe the head coach should always make a mark for the good, not the questionable.

Before the NFC Championship match up, I was able to play golf. My foursome included my friend, another woman and her 73 year-old father-in-law. Based on the game, I left after 14 holes but not before I fist bumped and thanked my playing partners, only to see the lone gentleman in our group, take his cap off and bid adieu. I absolutely love this gesture in golf. Taking off one's hat to acknowledge another isn't difficult. It takes but a moment. It is a wonderful sign of respect and a positive, personal discipline. 

Conversely, I believe people who do not remove their hats in certain places and spaces, ought to be reminded to do so. On a regular basis I remind my students to remove their hoodie, beanie or hat from their head when we are inside the classroom. About 90% of the time, this cue is non-verbal. I have never been met with an unwilling student; they understand.

much better. 

This Christmas, I noticed a 14 year old boy was wearing a baseball cap throughout Mass. Though I was glad he came (and if you are judging me for judging, so be it). I wish his parents, the usher or even an elder in the community had reminded this young man that when Catholic Christians stand in a sacred place. we remove our caps. To be honest, I wish he had known and thought to do so.

Coach, as a positive role model and a well respected leader, I simply ask that you model what we ask of others—especially young people. Perhaps you see things differently. If so, I would like to learn more.

Thank you for all you have done for what has been an exceptional team and season. I tip my cap to you and look forward to all that is to come, especially in future press conferences.

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Stricherz
San Francisco resident, fan and daughter of the biggest Niner fan around

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