By Tim Urness, Alexandria, MN

Cheer for the 49ers! Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott! Three Hall of Fame NFL players that were part of the San Francisco 49ers dynasty in the 80s and early 90s.

I loved watching the 49ers as a kid and they were by far my favorite football team. I could name so many of the players from that era of the 49ers that won five super bowls between the years 1982-1995. Don’t believe I was a huge 49ers fan? Think I am just making this up to be a great lead in for this month’s column? I even have proof from 5th grade. Check out the attached photo of me proudly wearing my 49ers ZUBAZ and matching hat standing between my grandparents. (Still wish I had those ZUBAZ in my possession — though they might be a tad snug on me these days.)

Now in my adult days, I still enjoy cheering for the 49ers (calm down Vikings fans — it’s not what you think). It’s not the NFL team San Francisco 49ers, rather the 49ers that I want to support are those people who live a “49er lifestyle.” I first learned of a “49er lifestyle” from my friends, Jimmy and Trish Mages. A family from Osakis whom I’ve known since 2001. They have four kids; Brady, Kyle, Grant and Stephanie. Jimmy shared that they are trying to instill into their kids that not everything in life needs to be 50/50. He stated, “When we break a cookie in half to share, it’s probably not going to break evenly at 50/50. It might be 49% and 51%. And if you need to share with a friend, which one will you pick? Are you going to keep the 51% and offer the 49%? Or live like a 49er and take the 49%?”

Another example he used is at the grocery store. As their family comes up to the checkout lane with their cart full of groceries (and with four active kids in sports they buy a lot of groceries) and notice someone behind them with fewer items, can they let them go ahead? What if their kids said, “We might be here a while, why don’t you jump ahead of us?” Trish also shared with me that her kids are typically observant in social settings (maybe at church or a large family gathering) and if they see an older person that doesn’t have a chair, they will often notice this and offer their chair to that person. A true example of living the 49er life.

These four kids are fortunate to have parents that model this 49er lifestyle. I worked with Trish at Carlos Elementary for over a decade and have many stories of her generous heart. And one cool example about their dad being a 49er happened about eight years ago. Jimmy met a man through Love INC that needed help fixing his water faucet. Jimmy took this task on but went one step further. He noticed the man needed his house painted. So, Jimmy purchased the paint on his own and took the time to paint his entire home. Amazing play Mr. 49er!

He keeps in contact on a friend level with that man to this day. In fact, he recently helped this gentleman install a new bathroom vanity and toilet. Hopefully this column is a reminder to look around with open eyes and to know that it’s OK to not keep score all the time. Let’s get away from having the “I want more” or “everything should be equal” mentality and see how we can serve others. So, football fans, no matter who you root for on Sundays, I challenge you to have the heart and mindset of a 49er.

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Tim Urness is actively involved in service groups in the Alexandria area. “In the Know” is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.