How to Really Be an Authentic Fan

How to Really Be an Authentic Fan

 

I’ll be honest, until Sunday’s game seven of the NBA Finals I was a bandwagon fan. I started watching the Golden State Warriors regularly last year when I came home from my first year of college. The second I landed in Oakland in late May 2015, I turned on the TV and was swept up in Dub Nation hysteria as the Warriors faced the Rockets in the Western Conference finals. 

I have never watched a lot of basketball, but the Warriors changed everything for me. Their success transcended the basketball court. They brought something special to the Bay Area when they won the championship last year. The Warriors created a sense of community that I have never experienced living here. “Go Dubs” suddenly replaced “Hello” as a greeting. As the summer progressed and the hype persisted, I couldn’t fathom the idea of having to leave the Bay Area for my second year of school. The Warriors had just revitalized our community, and I had to leave. 

When I returned to school I sported my Warriors apparel when I could, occasionally seeing and befriending other students who did the same. I also watched every Warriors game that was streamed over CSN Bay Area, often staying up until 1:30 a.m. to watch the full game. (I was on East Coast time.) 

“Sorry, there’s a Warriors game tonight” became my most common excuse when blowing off friends or flaking on study groups. I got more and more addicted with each record they broke. 

I witnessed how hard the Warriors worked and got inspired. I tried to emulate their work ethic in my own academic career. I thought: if Steph can drain threes from half court with ease, I can surely get an A in this math class. 

As the regular season progressed, and it became clear that the Warriors would be in the playoffs, I started looking for summer jobs in the Bay Area and was fortunate enough to find one. I wanted to be a part of Dub Nation again, and of course, attend to the Warriors parade.

This is why the 2016 NBA finals have been so torturous for me. Game seven was heartbreaking. When Kyrie Irving made that three-pointer with seconds left in the fourth quarter giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a three-point lead over the Warriors, I felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. 

I looked at my father as he brought his hands to his face in dismay. My sister buried her head in one of our couch pillows. This was the end. I thought back to all the late nights in my dorm room watching games on my tablet. How could I do it all again next season without the momentum of a championship title? 

As the final seconds elapsed and the Cavs became the 2016 NBA Champions, I realized that I was at a crossroads. I had only experienced the good times with the Warriors. How I chose to react would be a testament of my fan-hood. 

True sports fans know that there are ups and downs; they stick by their team no matter what. The Warriors have been an essential part of my life for the past year, and it has been a thrilling ride. While I am disappointed with the outcome of the Finals, I realize that the Warriors have accomplished many goals this season. 

Watching the Cavs celebrate their first NBA title in history, I realized that an authentic fan subscribes to the journey in its entirety, and I can’t wait for next season. The Cavs may have taken the championship, but they can never take Dub Nation. Congratulations to the Cavs, and Go Dubs!