We should have seen it coming. We should have known that the only way the Warriors could start building their new stadium in San Francisco was with a synchronized tractor dance, half a dozen acrobats in fake construction garb, golden shovels, and a metaphor so thick you might choke.
On Tuesday, the Warriors broke ground on the Chase Center, the waterfront stadium in San Francisco that will replace Oakland’s Oracle Arena. To call the event a mere circus would be an insult to the memory of Ringling Bros. How much money do you have to have, how much confidence in the inevitability of your own success, before you hire pantomime construction workers to somersault over traffic cones, replete with bucket hats made from reflective safety vests flopping around their heads? Bucket hats made from reflective safety vests flopping around their heads. The Warriors midwifed this sentence into being, a remarkable achievement, one of so many feathers to cram into Joe Lacob’s cap.
You can feel the eye roll starting, so let’s just get it out of the way: one good eyeball swivel for the tech bros, the juice-cleansed 26-year-olds hanging on till their stock is fully vested, all the young people selling things for a company with a cute name and a cuter logo while logging things into Salesforce and watching marbles roll across the floor of Millennium Tower and knowing they have time for a quick run before heading down to Oracle and thinking that they have it made. Which they do, in their beautiful gold-rush city with their near-clinically perfect basketball team, where the odds of a devastating earthquake striking on any given day are really very low. They’ll tell you that you’ll love it there, and the worst part is that you really will. Winning is so nice. It is.
But I digress. Did you see these dancers? Join me. Let’s watch. We will warm ourselves around these memories in the future.
And then we have the finale, an aerial dancer twirling on a ribbon hung from an excavator bucket while two other dancers trampoline into the air and a fourth break-dances beside them. What is happening? Why are they doing this? You know the answer: because they can.
The Warriors make for a funny kind of supervillain, and not just because they were everybody’s favorite team just a couple of years ago, a bandwagon with popcorn and banjos to spare. It’s more that as they do these things — these incredible displays that reduce even the city’s mayor to giddy amazement at the riches of his tenants — they’re welcoming us along for the ride. Join us, they’re saying. We have so much, we will have even more soon, we are smarter and faster and more fun and better. They are these things. It’s dazzling. It’s intoxicating. But — I don’t know, isn’t there just a little hint here that maybe, possibly, they might be trafficking in fool’s gold?
So of course here is San Francisco elbowing its kid sister in the face and leaving Oakland — poor Oakland, where people are looking at last week’s Chargers news and the decrepit, now-sponsorless Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum and gulping — in the Warriors’ golden dust. The outlook for Oakland sports is bleak. The A’s will lose. The Warriors will leave soon. The Raiders will be the joy of the city, and then maybe they will leave, too. And, well, maybe if they’re lucky, Golden State fans will still be able to see the glimmer of gold from across the bay.