I think I can recognize my own bandwagon BS because when I was in High School my old brother went to college in Los Angeles. During which he grew a fandom for the Lakers, a team at the time living the fresh excitement of Kobe, Shaq, and some guy named Phil Jackson. He was obsessed and I didn’t understand his new fandom. I found everything about the purple and gold atrocious. I thought Kobe was a douche-bag jock like the guys that stuffed me into a locker in High School. I found Shaqs’ comments about being a “Big Aristotle” deteriorating to the general populous relationship to philosophy. And unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone cool enough around to help me understand that Phil Jackson was a fucking mastermind.
I vividly recall watching a few games with my brother in his apartment in the Valley, off Sepulveda Blvd.. We were often on the edge of our seats, eyes-glued relentlessly to his intrepid entertainment. I wasn’t able to appreciate the game then, but I could appreciate the energy in the room enough to know there was something here similar to what I’d found with other sports I love like Baseball and Football and Hockey.
Upon moving to the bay a few years ago I got my own dose of what my brother had experienced in Los Angeles more than a decade previous. The Golden State Warriors were it. They’d won the NBA Championship with a motley crew against the goliath of basketball, Lebron James. Oakland, my new home, was off the map! It’s as if a tsunami of pride for the team had swept the land. Gold and blue everywhere. People were ecstatic, it was palpable. If you lived in Oakland, you were a Warrior.
Slowly, I fell in. At first, I’d only go to watch a few playoff games with some guys I played softball with. Then I would go to see all the playoffs. Then I bought a hat. And now, I follow the team and tune in on pretty much every game. In a fairly short period of time I’ve not only became a fan of a team but I did a total 180 on a sport I didn’t like at all. All because of where I lived.
I understand more now about the metamorphosis that a place can have on you when it comes to cultural monikers of pride in a local community. I guess you can push away from it, and be an expatriate of sorts— But I assume that is lonely and the longer you live somewhere the more you’ll long for the camaraderie. That camaraderie exist in teams, players, the games they play, and how those game manifest in our local communities. Yeah, they’re unbearably cocky jocks, and sometimes poor philosophers on huge soap boxes, sometimes they’re brilliant dudes like Phil who should be helping us innovate the world, but is instead collecting nice rings. But all in all their all of us. We are wearing our local pride, getting highfives for just standing there.
I found this in Oakland, just as my brother found it in Los Angeles. And many fans find it in the places they live. Now, I’m in Los Angeles and I wonder if my brother wonders if I’ll join him in his Laker fandom… Sorry, bro. Leaning towards the Clippers. Love you!