The Game of Unity
Despite the immense steps that have been made since years ago when slavery was allowed, discrimination and racism remain a major issue in the U.S. Minority races such as African American, Asian, and Mexican are still being discriminated against. However, there are particular situations, where people become more civilized and show more respectful manners towards not only people from their race or class but also people from other races and classes. Elijah Anderson examines through his observations in several public spaces, including his intensive examinations on how people behave during their presence in the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. His book, The Cosmopolitan Canopy, has revealed the improved attitudes demonstrated by people when they are in space or situation that represents cosmopolitan canopy, where discrimination seems to reduce, and equality is more promoted. While Anderson emphasizes more on the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, this paper will discuss a different view of the cosmopolitan canopy, which includes the role of basketball games in tightening the bond between people from different races. Oracle Arena, where the basketball games are played, is one of the best representations of the cosmopolitan canopy in Oakland since it offers an atmosphere of enjoyment as well as provides an intimate space for the audiences to observe each other and interact closely.
The picture being displayed is a documentation of a basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers in Oracle Arena Stadium taken from my iPhone 6s. I watched the game in April to support my favorite team, Golden State Warriors. The game was well-matched because both teams are competitive. Luckily, my favorite team won, and the other supporters were sportive. Moreover, we were all satisfied with the game without any harm happened.
Oracle Arena is located in 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland. From 1970, it was commonly known as the home of Golden State Warriors. It becomes a medium for more than twenty thousand people. For that reason, Sports Googly nominates Oracle Arena as Top Five Loudest NBA Arenas of all time. They assert, “The sound level of a chainsaw or a jet engine, released in one of these arenas can pump adrenaline levels to maximum and provide for an unforgettable experience.” Regarding the dearest team, Golden State Warriors was the home of great players since 1946, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Chris Mullin, and Draymond Green. Numerous talents were born and become professional players. The team has won several championships, last year; they just won against the Cleveland Cavaliers. One of their most valuable players, Stephen Curry, contributes in increasing the number of the supporters.
Basketball in Oakland does not only illustrate the city’s dynamic way of life but also demonstrates unity and diversity. It is interesting to see audiences from diverse races, professions, and ages united in a stadium supporting their favorite teams. As a large city, Oakland has a quite diverse community. Oakland is listed as one of the top ten 2016’s most diverse cities in America. The rank was made based on social class diversity, ethnic-racial diversity, economic diversity, and household diversity. It indicates that the city is capable of facilitating public spaces or events that can function as a cosmopolitan canopy, including the Oracle Arena.
It is not only a sport but also a lifestyle. Anderson mentions that sports events are examples of cosmopolitan canopy beside markets, stations, squares, or public transports. Sport is one thing that promotes equality and peace. It breaks down racial barriers. That is why basketball games in Oakland are one of the best representations of the cosmopolitan canopy that offers audiences a feeling of conformity and unity, regardless their races, social status, or professions. It is the game, which becomes the focus of attention and has put aside the urge of discrimination.
The first cosmopolitan canopy feature to be discovered from the basketball games in Oakland is the atmosphere of enjoyment and relaxation, although most of the audiences do not know each other. The picture illustrates people at their relaxed and enthusiastic states. This feeling might be different if they are in other places. The situations in the stadium is what Anderson has described as the “neutral social settings, which no one group expressly owns but all are encouraged to share, situated under this kind of protective umbrella, represent a special type of urban space, a peculiar zone that every visitor seems to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy” (21). Racial and other discrimination issues do not seem matter under these circumstances. The zone, where people share a common interest in basketball, is one of the important factors in holding people to come together and unite.
Another characteristic of the cosmopolitan canopy that is seen in Oakland basketball games is the intimate space between audiences that enable them to observe other people more closely at comfort. The audience seats in the picture separate people almost with no distance. Anderson has explained that in these situations, there will be more chances to perform “direct and indirect observation and eavesdropping” (29). Anderson has also emphasized that “such places are important settings for diverse strangers to “learn” how to get along with one another, albeit at times superficially” (29). Observation can be a starting point before people start communicating. With the close distance among the audiences in basketball games, it is easier for people to examine other people’s behavior, and even hear their conversations without being impolite. Furthermore, even though there are no direct communications occurred, Anderson has pointed out that the observations still occupy important roles in raising people’s awareness of diversity. The observers will gain knowledge about those who have been observed. Eventually, observers will be likely to forward the information they obtain to their families or friends. Therefore, the intimacy created by the seat in the stadium triggers people to interact with strangers.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the Oracle Arena Oakland, where basketball games are played, also act as a cosmopolitan canopy for the audiences. People can feel more relaxed and neutral as their focuses are on enjoying the games. During the basketball games in Oracle Arena, people have the ability to do closer observations towards other people and their surroundings, which will lead to more encouragement to interact and bring more understanding about diversity. Basketball games can unite people from different cultural and social backgrounds. With the diverse society, the Oakland owns, Oracle Arena takes an important role as a cosmopolitan canopy, which maintains harmony and open-mindedness among citizens.
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“Loudest NBA Arenas of All Time: Best NBA Arenas.” SportsGoogly. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Dec.