My First Warriors Game

My First Warriors Game

My Visit to the Cathedral of Stephen Curry: Oracle Arena

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Last week I went to my first basketball game in probably 5 years, which is weird considering how much I talk about basketball. After going to this one, however, I don't think I'll wait another 5 years to go to another one. It helps that the team closest to where I live now is a potential dynasty, so the games are almost always going to be pretty great.


Golden State Warriors vs Oklahoma City Thunder 1st Half Highlights | 11.21.2018, NBA Season youtu.be


I went to the Warriors vs. the Thunder last Wednesday, the 21st, and had an awesome time, even though the Warriors lost by quite a bit (123-95). As a Rockets fan, I was surprised by my disappointment in the Warriors losing; shouldn't I be happy about this? The truth is, I don't hate the Warriors, even though I know I probably should. (I'll most likely be taking this statement back by the time the playoffs come around.) After moving to San Francisco, my mom, the biggest sports fan I know and the reason why I love sports, gifted me MLB.tv and League Pass, so I could watch my favorite teams in my dorm. However, because I'm on West Coast time, games that are played in later time zones normally end early, so I would throw on another game to have in the background while I did work. Normally, these games are teams playing on Pacific Standard Time, hence my newfound Lakers obsession. I watch a ton of other games to, including teams that I've probably never watched before in my entire life. For this reason, I think I developed a greater appreciation for each sport, as opposed to just one team. Now, I think the only team I can say I hate wholeheartedly are the New York Yankees (my mom is a Red Sox fan, so I hope you can understand this one).


Benches clear twice between Yankees, Red Sox youtu.be


But back to the Warriors game. Because I live in San Francisco, I had to make the trip to Oakland to get to Oracle Arena. Next year, the Warriors will be moving their home games from "The Town" to "The City;" a brand new arena located in the Mission Bay will be completed by 2019 for the 2019-2020 NBA season. So, this is the Warriors last season at Oracle, where they have been playing home games since 1971. In my opinion, the arena doesn't appear to be that old, but what do I know?


Chase Center Golden State Warriors 4K Construction Time-Lapse youtu.be


There was a light drizzle as we walked from the BART station at the Coliseum to the arena. The BART had been full of excited Warriors fans ready for the team to snap the losing streak they have acquired while on the road. There were also a couple of Thunder fans on the BART, but they kept to themselves.

We arrived at the arena more than an hour before the game, which wasn't terrible because I got to watch some of the players warm up. Steph Curry was not playing this game, so I unfortunately did not get to see him warmup (or do the iconic tunnel shot).

The national anthem before the game was an incredible performance. Evidently this girl, only 7 years old, sings the national anthem at many different sports venues around California. So, we were off to a great start!


#MaleaEmma (7 yo) singing National Anthem at Golden State Warriors game youtu.be


Now, I've been told that the energy at Oracle is incredible, but I think there is a caveat to this. The energy can be incredible, only if the Warriors are doing well, or really well. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that many Warriors fans are not used to losing. So, when their team goes down early in the first, they don't really know what to do. Despite the lack of energy from the fans (there was even a traffic jam going out of the tunnel in the arena in the middle of the 4th quarter), I really did enjoy the game.

Watching basketball from my computer screen in my dorm is nice, but seeing it played in real time gives you a completely different perspective of the game. It feels quieter, slower, and the court appears a lot smaller. This is very different than my experiences of going to baseball games. I love going to baseball games, don't get me wrong, but I often feel like it's harder to follow when you are watching it from the stadium as opposed to at home. Watching basketball live can give you new insights that you might not be able to pick up on when you watch a game from your couch.

The biggest thing you can pick up on? Chemistry. Seeing how the team plays together live can be the biggest indicator of how good they actually are. Being able to see the interactions between the players on the bench, during timeouts, and in-between the quarters was honestly my favorite part (given that they were losing).

Despite the final score, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I can't wait until I can get to another game. Hopefully next time I'll be able to witness the Warriors everyone knows and loves (or hates).

Here are a couple of games I wish I could have seen live:


Klay Thompson 37pt 3rd Quarter CSN Bay Area feed 1-23-15 youtu.be


Stephen Curry UNREAL NBA Record 2016.11.07 vs Pelicans - 46 Pts, 13 Threes, Most EVER in a Game! youtu.be


Houston Rockets vs GS Warriors - Full Game Highlights | Game 4 | May 22, 2018 | NBA Playoffs youtu.be

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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An Open Letter To The Coach Who Inspired Me Forever

Anyone who's found a love for a sport (or sports) while playing for rec teams, club teams or teams for a local school, can agree.. that somewhere along the way, there was a coach that changed everything.

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When I was five years old, my parents signed me up for my first organized sport. It happened to be the Fall of the year I entered kindergarten and the sport happened to be soccer. Now, at this age calling it, an "organized" sport is quite a reach. We met once a week, put on our colored pennies and ran around in a big field while a volunteer coach really thought they'd have the chance to corral us. That year, I continued through the seasons and got my first glimpse at a number of other sports. Cheering, basketball, and t-ball were all on my to-do list, and soon I was hooked.

Every week I would look forward to games on the weekend and a practice or two along the week. By the third or fourth grade, I believed I had narrowed down the sports I really wanted to play: soccer, basketball, and baseball. I played all of these until the fifth grade when it was first suggested that I switch over to softball.

I absolutely hated the idea of this but, that spring it happened. I was the first one to be "drafted" onto a team, that come to find out, was the team that always finished last. Even knowing this, I continued to play and learn every position and somehow leading my team to its first championship in years.

This.

This was the moment I learned to love the sport I least expected to, and first met the coach who would change my view on the game. Although the story leading up to this point may not have been the same as yours, we all know the moment we realized, this coach was going to change us.

For me, this coach over my middle and high school careers became one of the most important people in my world now revolving around this sport. He fought for my spot on the middle school team when the coach claimed I was "too young" and wanted to give older girls a spot. He pulled me to the varsity lineup as a Freshman and trusted me to catch every-game behind the plate of the senior pitcher who clearly had the speed and talent to pitch collegiately. He continued to mentor me, step by step as my role on the team transitioned from freshman catcher, to second baseman, to senior captain pitcher.

This coach changed everything for me. He taught me respect and accountability and I'd get out what I put into not only the sport, but all my other endeavors. He taught me integrity, and perseverance. But he also taught me how to have fun while I played. How to step onto the field and play my hardest, but know no-matter the score as long as I did my best it was a good game.

I had never known what it was like to have someone other than my parents be so invested in my success before. Of course, they're going to be there for every game, every carpool to practice and every early Sunday morning tournament. But often times, the coach who leaves it all on the field goes unnoticed. The coach who will sit after a game and cry with you after you played your very last game... the coach that truly made you believe in yourself.

So here's to him. Here's to the blood, sweet and tears left behind. Here's to "the good, the bad and the ugly" as he'd say, and learning that any bruise can be fixed by rubbing a little dirt on it. Thank you for your devotion. Thank you for shaping me in to the player I am today, and continuing to do so for others. Thank you for inspiring me everyday to be the best I could be.

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