For more than five years now, I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. As you might imagine, I am, and have been, a huge sports fan that entire time. However, it was not until this week that I attended a Golden State Warriors' game--and this week I went to two!
And what do you know, the lowly Warriors won both games! Against teams that are supposedly "good," no less! On Monday the Warriors manhandled the Chicago Bulls and on Wednesday Golden State downed my New York Knicks--who played as if they didn't want to be there in the first place. Looks like all the Warriors needed all these years, was me!
But it was more than just a few wins that I saw. My experiences at Oracle Arena showed me the massive need for an identity for a team that tries to define itself as the basketball squad for all of California (Hence the "Golden State" title).
I had planned to go to Wednesday's game to watch the Knicks' lone trip to the Bay Area this season--Monday's trip was sort of spontaneous.
A friend called me and asked if I wanted to join her at the Bulls' game--and to meet her at the VIP entrance. Next thing I knew I was sitting courtside, about 15 feet from C.C. Sabathia.
I enjoyed the "free" halftime buffet, the up-close-and-personal view of the cheerleaders and of course, the game. The Bulls were supposed to roll the Warriors, but alas, it was Golden State that had the last laugh. I was rooting for the Warriors, so it was quite a fun game.
On Wednesday I was sitting in the rafters, with the plebeians.
The game started out promising--for me, the Knicks' fan--but but come second half all I was reminded of was that the Knicks are still the Knicks and I can't get too excited about them, because like that hot girl in junior high, they will tease tease tease me... but always leave me hanging. Regardless, the Warriors are 2-0 with me at games, and 0-1 without me, so I am definitely the lucky charm (and if they want to send me some comped tickets, I will gladly accept).
While I enjoyed both games, I was left with this perplexed, convoluted misunderstanding of who the Warriors are and who there fans are and are supposed to be.
In order to understand this, I'm going to give a very brief primer on Bay Area geography for those unfamiliar. The Warriors play in Oakland and their stadium is a adjacent to, and shares a parking lot with, O.co Coliseum where the A's and Raiders play. Oakland is due east of San Francisco, with the San Francisco Bay separating the two cities. I live in San Francisco and can easily take the train to Oakland and Oracle Arena.
So, at least for me, I would expect Raiders fans and A's fans to also be Warriors fans. After all, you can spit on the Raiders' logo from Oracle Arena.
So naturally you would think that fans of the 49ers and Giants wouldn't be Warriors' fans. It was the Niners and Raiders fans that tried to kill each other just this preseason, after all. So surely, they can't have a common love in a basketball team, can they?
However, the Warriors used to play in San Francisco and are considering moving back there--and San Francisco doesn't have a team, so maybe San Franciscans should be Warriors' fans? Heck, that train home from the game last night was pretty busy. But that's whacky! It's like a Baltimore Ravens fan rooting for the Washington Wizards. Or something like that.
And it looks like, as irrational as it sounds, that the Warriors may just be the glue that holds the Bay Area together. Case and point, Monday's game. Sitting behind me (perks of sitting courtside) was 49ers' running back Anthony Dixon. They showed him on the jumbotron and the stadium when bonkers. At the time I thought this was lunacy, since Dixon was no more than 500 feet from the arch-rival Raiders' home field.
But their embrace of Dixon turned me on to something--the Warriors want to be San Francisco's team (duh). Their jerseys say "The City" on them; which in the Bay Area, is a colloquial term for San Francisco (though it will always mean New York to me). Who wasn't shown on the big screen? Mistah F.A.B, the Oakland rapping legend who was also sitting near me. Hmmmm. Perhaps it is the Oakland fans that should be turned off by the Warriors? Or maybe everyone in the Bay Area can just get along? Can't be.