San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark passed away after his battle with ALS on Monday. His memory will endure for ions to come.
One moment in time is an incredible thing to own. Most will never know that feeling, because it’s a grand achievement the arena of life. Dwight Clark, a man gone far too soon, owns his moment forever.
Clark passed away on Monday at 61 years old, a victim of ALS. The former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver was a husband and father, the latter two items being far more important than the former. Still, the world will always recall Clark as the man who ushered in one NFL dynasty while crushing another on a windswept day at Candlestick Park.
Anyone familiar with Clark knows the story by now. Fifty-eight seconds to go in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers trailing the Dallas Cowboys, 27-21. Dallas, a three-point favorite on the road, was clinging to the lead after watching San Francisco march from its own 11-yard line down to the Cowboys’ six.
Now, on third down and three, Bill Walsh called Spring Right Option. Joe Montana was supposed to read receiver Freddie Solomon before coming back to Clark, who was running a dig inside before sprinting to the back-right pylon. With Solomon covered, Montana drifted, pump-faking twice before heaving a prayer toward Clark.
Clark, listed at 6-foot-4, needed every millimeter, grabbing the pass before touching down, setting off an eruption.
The former Clemson star would play through the 1987 season, getting his No. 87 retired by the team after two Super Bowl wins. It was a great career and a brilliant life, albeit ended far too soon by a disease that is both savage and unrelenting.
Some will say Clark’s moment is wonderful, but that it is just a game. True as that may be, it misses the essence of everything we are as human beings. Each one of us has passions and dreams, and if we’re wise, pour our souls into becoming the best versions of ourselves.
Most of us fail to attain the highest rungs of our interests, but Clark was able to grasp his. He didn’t miss his opportunity. He didn’t miss his chance.
In life, we aren’t guaranteed anything but an inevitable end. In this case, the death was premature, but the time lived was spectacular, outweighing any possible conclusion.
Clark is gone, but his moment will endure for all time.