Ringing in the end of the school year

May 19, 2016 — by Julia Miller

 The story of how a sophomore got to hold the Golden State Warriors Championship Ring

Excitement surged through me as I stepped out of my car. The Oracle Arena’s colossal glass windows glittered in the Sunday afternoon sunshine. It was May 1, the first game between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers in the semi-finals of the NBA Playoffs.

To me, obtaining these Playoff tickets was something out of a storybook, something I never imagined I’d get to do. Since I have been raised in front of the blaring Warriors games on TV and have attended games at the Oracle Arena since I was 9, there is nothing my dad and I are more passionate about than rooting for the Warriors. Little did I know that my day would get even better.

Walking into the stadium, I had no idea how my dream evening at Oracle Arena would turn out. My dad and I were ushered into the VIP club area, and our row-10 seats were waiting just down the hallway.

But I hadn’t come to this Warriors game just to relish in those seats and upscale lounge; I had a mission to get my jersey signed by the man himself, MVP guard Stephen Curry, who was in street clothes still recovering from a knee injury sustained in the opening series versus Houston.

Throughout the game, I scurried down to the floor three times to approach Curry, each attempt resulting in failure. At one point, with 30 seconds left in the game, I was only 10 feet from him. As Curry began to exit the arena, however, the security guards politely told me to leave.

When the golden yellow confetti erupting from the arena’s ceiling after another major Warriors win, 118-106, I stood up with my dad, tears brimming my eyes. It was only while watching Curry exit the building that I came to this unfortunate realization: Sheer determination was not enough for him to sign my jersey.

However, things quickly turned around. My dad and I were given the opportunity to exit Oracle Arena through the same hallway that the team members walk through every day. It was a surreal moment, one that I will never forget.

Walking down the hallway I had only seen on TV, I made sure to pose in front of everything, from wallpapers to plaques, as my dad snapped dozens of pictures.

We came across one hallway plastered with old Warriors logos. I was standing in front of them, waiting for my dad to take the picture, when a hand grasped my shoulder.

Sporting a black blazer with a “Strength with Numbers” Warriors T-shirt underneath, a tall man with glasses stopped in the hallway. I was surprised and confused as I stared at the stranger with his laminated VIP pass dangling around his neck.

“You should hold this for your picture,” he said. Quickly, he dug around in his pocket and pulled out a large ring with the Warriors emblem clearly outlined on its surface, sparkling beneath the hallway lights.

“No way,” I whispered through my gaping mouth, my eyes growing wide.

There, between his fingers, was the Golden State Warriors 2014-2015 Championship ring.

“Here, you can hold it,” he said. “It’s got 240 diamonds.”

I grasped the heavy ring and placed it on my forefinger. I turned my hand side to side, watching the diamonds glisten.

After taking pictures of the ring, handing it back and shaking his hand, the man introduced himself as Mark Stevens, a part owner of the Warriors.

Of course, being the person I am, I blurted out the question of whether or not he knew Stephen Curry. He said yes,  and that was enough to put a smile  on my face.

Although I didn’t meet Curry that day, meeting someone who knew him — and holding the championship ring — was a thrill.  I can’t wait to go back.

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