Finally Some Good News: The Lakers and the Dodgers

In+the+middle+of+a+pandemic%2C+LA%27s+two+major+wins+were+the+highlight+of+this+year.+Both+the+Lakers+and+the+Dodgers+played+through+an+uncertain+time%2C+pulling+through+with+championship+titles.+Photo+courtesy+of+Los+Angeles+Times.

In the middle of a pandemic, LA’s two major wins were the highlight of this year. Both the Lakers and the Dodgers played through an uncertain time, pulling through with championship titles. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times.

Shrutika Ezhil, Staff Writer

   The city that won the NBA championship has now gone on to win the World Series for baseball. For LA, this is a monumental year in sports.    

   After a decade, the Lakers won their 17th championship title in the 2020 NBA Finals on August 10th. In 2010, the last time they won, Kobe Bryant had taken them to their win. This year, LeBron James led the team to their title. “The win of the LA Lakers was a big deal to me and family … It was nice to celebrate the win at home and give condolences to Kobe Bryant as well,” Tobenna Anyaoha (11), a Lakers fan, expressed. But getting to this win was tough. 

    Midway through their season, the pandemic hit, and games started getting canceled. On March 11th, the NBA announced that their season would be suspended indefinitely. Basketball teams couldn’t compete or practice. However, around the month of May, practice facilities were slowly opening up, and by July, games were coming back, but with teams traveling, players couldn’t be with their families for weeks on end. While being in this “bubble,” players found it hard to be away from family. In a post-game interview, James expressed, “I miss the hell out of my family… My wife, my kids, my mother… it’s a huge challenge.” 

   Facing the challenges of having stricter guidelines and compensated practices, the Lakers were also worried about the social climate during their final games: the ongoing fight for equality and justice, championed by movements such as Justice for Breonna Taylor and Black Lives Matter. In order to not distract from the movements happening at the time, they hired Dr. Karida Brown as their Director of Racial Equity & Action, taking a strong front on the nation’s ongoing struggles to be “committed to being an anti-racist organization.” In fact, the Lakers shed their purple and gold jersey during their championship games and wore black in solidarity with those movements. As Anyaoha said, “Even throughout the pandemic, the Lakers have proven to be champions.” 

   Speaking of champions, fans of the Dodgers were also hoping for a championship this year. However, on March 16th, the Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that the start of their regular season would be pushed back until at least till the end of May. Fans, players, and teams were unsure if the season would even happen. Thankfully, after much debate, the season was announced to be back on with a start date of July 23rd. This left Dodgers fans on their toes, waiting for a win after 32 years. Despite the shortened Spring Training and the major changes to their season, the Dodgers won their way to the playoffs. However, making it to the World Series wasn’t enough. Mr. Belcher, a Dodgers superfan as well as West High’s softball coach and US History teacher, said, “It has been heartbreaking over the last few years to see the Dodgers lose in two World Series.” In 2017 and 2018, Dodgers lost to the Astros and the Red Sox. 

   This year, the Dodgers won three straight games in the World Series, and shortstop Corey Seager even set NLCS records, hitting five home runs and driving in 11. After that game, Seager yelled, “This year is our year!”

   And it would be their year to prove to the fans that the Dodgers could win. The night of October 27th, game 6 of the World Series, determined if the Dodgers won the championship or if they had to play another game against the Tampa Bay Rays.  

   And winning 3-1, the Dodgers clasped their seventh title in MLB, prevailing through the uncertain year and quenching the need for a title win.  

   Both major wins for LA left fans proud and overjoyed. When asked why fans were so happy, Mr. Belcher reflected on two aspects: the fans and the actual teams. In particular, he mentioned how, for some, “sometimes sports is the only outlet to leave the current struggles of real life for a few hours and cheer for their favorite team. As silly as it may sound, these championship runs could give people struggling with life a reason to live.” As for the actual teams, Mr. Belcher said, “It’s a big deal for both franchises because of their past. The Lakers have had a rough patch over the last few years, and their ability to right the ship and return to a championship is great for the fans.  For the Dodgers, while this is their 3rd time in the last four years to be in the World Series, they have not won a championship since 1988.”

   Winning after these “droughts” left many appreciative, such as Jordyn Saiki (11), a fan of both the Dodgers and the Lakers: “After years of not winning any championships, [both LA teams] have finally brought trophies back to LA.”

   Mrs. Hastings, West High’s Drama and Speech & Debate teacher, is a Dodgers fan who also pointed out how necessary these wins were: “With all of the negative in our state and country, it’s nice to have something to celebrate.”