Ask and ye shall receive

Life lesson sends locals to historical 49ers game
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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When San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis made what has been dubbed as “The Grab,” Saturday the crowd of nearly 70,000 erupted into a frenzy that hasn’t been heard at Candlestick Park in more than decade. The historic event brought back a lot of nostalgia for many fans and while that was true for Auburn natives Nancie Goodnough and Ashley Byers, it was also an important lesson: It never hurts to ask. About 72 hours earlier the mother and daughter had planned a playoff party at home. The two would most likely watch the game by themselves because their husbands aren’t into football. Instead, a simple email from Goodnough to 49ers owner Jed York and the resulting snowball sent them to a game they won’t soon forget. “I was completely shocked to get a reply,” said Goodnough, who shared football with her daughter because her husband and son weren’t into the sport. “I guessed on his email address and was right, I guess. I just could not believe it.” Goodnough emailed York on Jan. 6 to thank him for the work he has done to revitalize the once-proud franchise that hadn’t been to the playoffs since the 2002 season. At the end of the message she wrote, “I know it’s a lot to ask to see if you’d give away 2 tickets, but I told my daughter it never hurts to ask.” Days went by without a reply and life went on for Goodnough, who didn’t bother to tell her daughter about the email. On Wednesday afternoon, Goodnough checked her email and noticed there was a reply. Only, instead of the usual, “Thanks for a being a fan, enjoy the game,” line, York wrote that he would leave pre-game field passes for the two if they were attending. Goodnough fired off a reply less than 10 minutes later that they weren’t going to be at the game because they didn’t have tickets. The two tapped into their savings last season to buy season tickets for the first time but passed this year. Byers and her husband are in the process of adopting a baby from Africa and have used their savings this time to pay for the related costs of adoption. Four minutes later, a man who in all likelihood was busy with playoffs on his mind, returned Goodnough’s email and said he would leave two tickets. “We’d love to have you cheering on the team,” York wrote in the email. Goodnough called her daughter immediately and between tears rolling down her face told her daughter of the news. Byers herself broke into tears. “We talked later and were like this is why girls aren’t normally football fans because we cry when we get really excited about something,” said Byers, 25, who now lives in Lincoln. The two held a slight ounce of doubt about the tickets until they picked them up at will call. When they reached the field they caught York’s attention long enough to thank him and snap a photo. The 49ers went on to beat the New Orleans Saints 36-32 when Davis hauled in the game-winning catch for their first playoff win since 1998. Goodnough did say she planned to email York to thank him and who knows, maybe there’s another set of tickets in her future. At this point, though, Goodnough was just happy to share the experience with her daughter. Asked what she hopes to see Sunday from the Niners against the New York Giants, Goodnough said of course she wanted another Niners’ win but added that she would like to see another family moment in the Super Bowl. “I would love to see the Niners win this Sunday and I’d like to see the Ravens win,” said Goodnough, referring to Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and his brother John, the Baltimore Ravens coach. “Then both the brothers that are coaches will be up against each other, which would be amazing.”