Every Tuesday in Touchdown Jesus, staff writers Cray Allred and Valerie Dunham engage with the popular and polarizing world of sports from a Christian perspective.

Before the Warriors’ current core started to take flight in the 2012-13 season, fans of the Oakland team have only been treated to one playoff appearance in the last 18 years. Now, they’re a potential dynasty knocking on the door to the best season of all time at the cusp of winning the NBA Finals. Not only that, there are rumblings that they may have a shot at adding Kevin Durant in the offseason, the impact of which would be nearly impossible to overstate. It sounds too good to be true, and for many local fans, it will be.

As much as it is possible, the Warriors’ fans deserve this. The bandwagon expands for every great team, but the Warriors’ faithful have proved themselves as a rabid fan base. When given the chance to cheer, the diverse crowds at Oracle Arena have always lived up to their blue collar Californian reputation, turning the outdated Oakland stadium into the “Roaracle” and making it the loudest court in the league. But soon enough, the Warriors will be playing in another town, moved away from the Oakland throng that claims them now and plopped in the laps of San Francisco residents.

The Warriors have been a light on the hill for the desperate diehard, proof that hope isn’t always futile.

Sorry fan bases are easy to love. The long-suffering it takes to endure year after year, sometimes decade after decade, of poor play from the hometown team is charming, if pitiable. Such dedication to a hapless franchise can be built upon family tradition, simple geography, or singular shining moments that cement you as a diehard, for better or worse. A certain romanticism might be required to be a fan of the truly awful teams, but most fans in this predicament are not naïve. They wear paper bags on their heads and have higher hopes for the tailgating than the game itself. They buy into “the process” of losing on purpose, settling for silver linings in blowout losses when a young prospect shows another hint of promise.

Still, the least of these fans have a glimmer of hope that maybe their waiting will not be in vain. That the poor in victories, those who hunger and thirst for a winning team, will be satisfied. Maybe the new quarterback can help them sneak into the playoffs. Maybe a homegrown superstar like LeBron James will love their city and commit to deliver it a championship. And maybe their team could even become something special, blessed with a miraculous combination of shrewd team building and good fortune to form a long-term heavyweight. The Warriors have been a light on the hill for the desperate diehard, proof that those hopes aren’t always futile.

While other fans worry about the rich getting richer via a gratuitous superstar addition in Durant, the Warriors have already gotten too rich for their old blood. Winning is big business, and Steph Curry and company are in high demand. Ticket prices have soared along with the team’s winning margins, a gentrification of sorts for many of the people who have attended through the lean years only to be priced out of the new Promised land. Physical distance will soon put the team even further out of reach for its blue collar supporters. Warriors ownership is getting a new arena to showcase their suddenly cool team in the cooler pastures of San Francisco a few years from now.

This isn’t an anomaly. The lowly New Jersey Nets moved to Brooklyn and transformed into an upscale franchise at the same time new ownership determined to invest in an improved roster. Oklahoma City is clinging precariously to Durant and its other star players in the face of the brighter lights in bigger markets. It’s no accident that the haves are historically on the coasts while the have nots comprise flyover territory.

It’s hard to fault owners for nickel and diming the paying public for their premium product; it’s hardly different than the opportunism that gave them the buying power to nab one of the league’s 30 teams to begin with. The willingness of owners to extract every possible penny does betray the sentiment—employed by owners when asking for new, tax-payer funded arenas—that a team is some kind of benevolent spiritual anchor in its city, though.

Downtrodden fans don’t need a Jesus Juke to inform them that their team isn’t a benevolent god. They know that no amount of sports piety will lead to a postseason crown, let alone a heavenly one. But when things are finally going well, they have to re-learn the hard way that the sweet joy of victory, like all earthly spoils, is fleeting, sometimes cruelly so.

Image Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports