49ers fans keeping the faith

Auburn mother, daughter share love for 49ers despite losses and husbands who do not
By: Joshua Ansley Journal Sports Writer
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They are a mother and daughter pair who speak as if reciting lines from the “Gilmore Girls.” Only the closest family members can hear the difference in their voices. Unlike the Gilmore Girls, however, Auburn resident Nancie Goodnough and her daughter Ashley Byers, share a common bond that revolves around the game of football. As 49ers fans for life, the two have been attending regular season home games for the last seven years, and watching every game they are unable to attend. Having been season ticket holders for the last two years, Goodnough and Byers were at first welcomed to their seats with frowns from the neighboring fans, but the frowns soon turned into smiles. “It really shocked our neighbors,” Byers said. “They don’t ever expect us to know what’s going on.” What makes the tandom even more rare is that neither of their husbands are into football. Nancie’s husband of 29 years, Ken, and Ashley’s husband, Scott, are both outside types who are not against football, but would rather work on cars. Nancie is the youngest of three sisters. Her dad had been hoping for a son to share football with. With Nancie as his last option, he introduced the game to her at a young age, and she took to it. After learning her husband didn’t really watch television, Nancie said she watched it for a long time by herself. Then Ashley came along and a new fan was born. “I liked football ever since I was little,” Ashley said. “I feel like a big part of the reason I like it so much now is because I grew up with it. It’s something I’ve always known.” Now an English teacher at Victory High in Rocklin and the junior varsity volleyball coach at Lincoln High, Ashley doesn’t get to spend as much time with her mom as she did before. Since Ashley doesn’t have a television, she still manages to find time to get over to mom’s house for the Sunday game though. And if the game is in San Francisco, Ashley and Nancie will be there. As for the 49er’s rough start to the season, Ashley said the hope she put in the recent draft picks has failed to live up to her expectations. She said she doesn’t know what the problem is. “It’s just not working,” Ashley said. “Turnovers are a real problem. It frustrates me. I also think they are too predictable on offense.” Nancie said she also has been disappointed by the production of the draft, and added that both her and Ashley thought Mike Singletary was a good coach, but now aren’t so sure. The pair said they continue to hold on to the positive moments that they’ve had while at the 49ers games, such as when Jerry Rice retired. During halftime Steve Young threw a pass to Rice, which they said brought back some good memories. Their best memory, however, took place outside the stadium one day while they were tailgating. After watching some men fail to throw a football through the opening of a cardboard cut-out player, Ashley gave it a try. She made it through three times in a row. “Ashley can throw a football like a guy,” Nancie said. “She is really good.” Asked if she would encourage a future daughter of her’s to follow the game, Ashley said she would try. “I hope she would like it,” Ashley said. “But she’ll probably hate it. Maybe a son will like it. I don’t know.”