The family and I arrived late, and it was a light turnout for a Candlestick event. But to an 11-year-old with a passion for soccer and a fascination with a Bay Area sports stadium that has all the charm of a cement culvert, it was, and I quote, "the best day of my life."

Go figure. After 53 years, that place is still making first-time memories.

(By the way, the U.S. beat New Zealand 4-1 that day, not that it really mattered.)

Now someone cue the fog horn. It? time to move on.

<i>Paul Gullixson is editorial director for The Press Democrat. Email him at</i>