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In a Championship Season, Our Rookie Emerges

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A trading card with a photo of the author and his wife at the Chase Center
A new member of the team is on the way. (Alan Chazaro)

This week, as we near the end of 2022, the writers and editors of KQED Arts & Culture are reflecting on One Beautiful Thing from the year. Here, still awash in excitement over the Warriors’ victory, writer Alan Chazaro has an important next-season draft pick to share.

Out of a year’s worth of events, Thursday, June 16, might seem like an arbitrary date. But it’s a day that still lingers in my body — and one that will define the dimensions of joy and hope in my life moving forward.

It began like any great day for a true Baydestrian: with the Steph Curry-led Warriors playing against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals. To understand the weight of this fact, you must first understand my life as a loyal, non-bandwagon member of Dub Nation, through decades of ridicule and shame when the team would regularly finish among the perennial losers of the league. Back when they played at Oracle Arena. Back when the Bay Area felt like a different home, and my teenage self had yet to discover what home really meant to me.

But this particular Thursday in June was different. The Warriors were gearing up to claim their fourth trophy during a dynastic run of championship glory. I had grown up, and so had the team. It was unexpected. It was unthinkable. Despite the doubting, shit-talking and excuse-making from sports media and haters that had dismissed the Warriors for years (or perhaps, because of it), this day felt particularly glorious for OG fans like myself.

And still, the game wasn’t even my primary focus. For months, my wife and I had been planning our own little dynasty. After nearly 15 years together — having met in a Chicano Studies class at UC Berkeley as undergrads — we had decided to add a new team member to our squad, and were in the process of trying for our first child.

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I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario on that Thursday morning. Briana called me into the room to share the news: a positive pregnancy test laid on top of a Warriors onesie. Our child had decided to announce himself that day, as the Warriors were on the verge of hoops history. I’m not usually one to shed tears — when my grandmother recently passed, after I’d visited her in Mexico, I smiled, knowing she found peace — but this was different. I did cry. Because this wasn’t an ending. This was the beginning of a beautiful thing: Maceo Agosto Chazaro. And the Warriors. Well, they have been a part of my life since grade school.

The Dubs ended up winning it all. My wife and I took BART to San Francisco to be at Chase Center with the fans, just a few hours after we’d learned our baby was growing inside her belly. Though the actual game was happening in Boston, we gathered in front of the Warriors’ arena as the last shot splashed and the celebratory drinks poured (my wife, of course, abstaining). The day felt bigger than basketball. It still does.

Two small children in Warriors gear laugh with their mother nearby in a crowd of sports fans
Kids play outside Chase Center on June 13, 2022, as the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Finals. (Alan Chazaro)

Looking back on it, I recall what it is that’s always drawn me to the sport — especially as a Mexican American who grew up in an all-male home with my father and older brother. Basketball taught me about myself and what it takes to overcome, even when the odds seem insurmountable. It was never just about scoring on a fast-break dunk or making flashy dribbles. It was about chemistry; about communication; about the synergy of watching humans working in synchronized perfection to reach a collective objective; about rebuilding and trying again. At its best, a sports team can represent an entire region’s pride and identity, like a family’s last name.

When I think of baby Chazaro entering the world, I wonder how he’ll fit into the rhythm and structure of our unit. How we’ll have to adapt, and apply everything we know in order to coach him up. How our fun-sized rookie will develop his own skills and talents as we provide a healthy environment for him to thrive into his full potential.

There will be turnovers. There will be miscommunications. There will be losses. Hella losses — particularly a loss of sleep, as I’ve been told by other parents. But I doubt that will really matter when those moments of joy, growth and achievement are finally reached.

I won’t ever know exactly what those players felt in that locker room on the night they banded together to win it all. But I’ll always remember the feeling of euphoria and limitless possibility that coursed through me on that June day, when Briana and I realized we’d taken the biggest shot of our lives. As a team.

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