As a girl who is essentially clueless about sports, I still hop on the
Bay Area bandwagon and pretend that I know what I am talking about when I cheer on the Warriors this NBA finals season. Currently, as I sit in my room in my hometown, Oakland, California, I hear fireworks in the background and suddenly, it hits me. The Warriors won! Instantly, I feel a sense of joy and pride, which is odd because I don't even watch basketball, let alone, know the sport well enough to be cheering on a team so devoutly and passionately. Although, as I began to ask myself why I even care enough to be so joyous at this moment, when I usually couldn’t care less, I realized that my joy was not only for the Warriors’ team winning, it was also for the realization that at this moment, so many people from every walk of life in my community have been brought together in celebration. The Warriors are more than just another sports team. Here in the Bay Area, they are a representation of the diversity, dedication, and driven mentality of the Bay Area community.
As one of the most diverse places in the world, the Bay Area truly has it all. We are a place that contains both ends of the spectrum and everyone in between. From age, to race, to sexual orientation, to career paths, to life stories -- I am
proud to say that the Bay is a place that celebrates diversity and the freedom of expression. With that being said, due to the expensive standard of living here, there exists a large income disparity, which is particularly prevalent in my home town, Oakland. Oakland also just so happens to be the home turf of The Warriors. After living in Southern California for a year, I have found that whenever asked about where I am from, my answer always leads to surprised faces. In my personal experience, Oakland has a bad reputation and is known to be a “dangerous” area. Although some areas may be more plagued with crime than others, this can be true of any other area in the world as crime can exist anywhere. Also, I believe that this reputation, created by the media, is extremely misleading as this city is not only a crime-ridden area, rather, it is a place chock full of stories, culture, art, and a rich history. It is for this exact reason that I believe that it is necessary to have teams like the Warriors, because not only do they bring people from all over the Bay Area together, but they also give places like Oakland a different reputation. The Warriors have helped to turn a city known to be full of crime, into a city that represents the #HUSTLE in life. Most of the players on the team share a similar background or culture with a large
demographic of Oaklanders, and this relatability can help to restore hope into the lives of those within this community who may be fighting their own battles.
Several weeks ago, I had an experience that showed me that the Warriors presence extends further than the Bay Area. I had an epiphany when I was at an airport in Orange County, California. As I walked towards the gate where my airplane would board, I walked past a crowd of about 25 people gathered around a television at a bar. They would cheer with no consideration for anyone else in the airport, but rather than being annoyed at the extra noise, most people in the airport smiled as they walked past this crowd. This crowd created a shift in energy within the airport. It turned out that they were cheering for the Warriors in one of the NBA Finals games. The fact that people across the state would go out of their way to take time outside of their busy schedules and risk missing their airplane in order to stand outside of a bar with their luggage, to watch and cheer on the Warriors helped me realize two things. First of all, it provided me with the proof that people from all walks of life were being brought together to celebrate the accomplishment of those who fulfilled their dream after years of dedication and hard work. It also showed me that people outside of the Bay Area were celebrating the Bay Area, whether directly, or indirectly, by cheering on our team.
Again, this brought me pride as I realized that in that moment, The Warriors were helping to shape the perception of Oakland for those who may not completely understand the beauty of this city. They have brought the diverse crowd in the Bay Area together in celebration, as well as shown the world what the Bay Area truly represents.