Salt Lake City is not a cow town; but going from Utah's capital to San Francisco can be a little like going from the farm into town. Utahns who've visited the Bay area and opened a San Francisco Chronicle usually take a step back. There's more theater there in a week than we have in a season, and the number of art galleries, designer shops and bookstores can max a Salt Laker's system in a hurry.
And that goes for football players as much as anyone else.The San Francisco 49ers will have five players with Utah ties playing in the Super Bowl: Tom Holmoe, Steve Young, Darryl Pollard, Del Rogers and Todd Shell. (Cincinatti has four: Mike Norseth, Leon White, Jason Buck and Lee Johnson).
The "local boys made super" in the Bay Area have not only had to adjust to professional football, they've had to adjust to a city that's a playground of distractions, entertainment, art and opportunity.
Tom Holmoe, the Niners hard-hitting defensive ace, took part of an afternoon from his busy week to talk about going from the rugged interior West to the California culture capital.
"The social scene is quite a change in several ways," he says. "Since I'm with the 49ers my wife and I get invited to a lot of benefits and openings, for instance. I do quite a bit of speaking around the city.
"We were recently invited to see a LeRoy Neiman exhibit, for instance. We went up, took a look, saw the prices, and went home."
The Holmoes have tried to keep their identity and sanity in S.F. by spending quite a bit of time with former BYU teammate Todd Shell and his wife.
"Believe it or not," he says, "many of the things we try to do here - and like to do - aren't that much different from the things we did in Provo. When my wife and I began dating at BYU we'd go to the movies, maybe go down to Heaps for a pizza or for Chinese food at the Bamboo Hut. We'd catch some of the plays or concerts on campus. Here in California, Todd and his wife live just one mile away, so the four of us spend a lot of time together. We go out to eat - there are some incredible
or maybe we'll even go bowling or Todd and I will play some.
"Our wives love to go uptown and visit the designer shops here and look at things. At least I think they only look."
Has life in trend-setting San Francisco changed the way he sees things?
He thinks. "Well, there is one thing," he says with a smile. "The two of us do have a handsome little music box collection now."
In the end, the one thing that does come through when you talk to our local Forty-Niners is that they are football players first and foremost, and men about the Bay later. Their business is football. They are pros.
One remembers Brian Bosworth being drafted. Bosworth said there were only a couple of cities he'd even consider moving to. He was thinking lifestyle, not football.
Maybe that's one reason The Boz has had such a miserable season, while guys like Young, Holmoe, Shell, Rogers and Pollard are in Miami today, playing for the world championship.