February 21, 2024

Carter's 2 Cents: Much needed trip home

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Going home means different things to different people.

Home for me has been fairly hard to define the last few years as my family has done a lot of moving over the past five or so years.

But, for the first 18 years of my life I called the San Francisco Bay Area home – a home I hadn’t visited in quite a while.

So when presented with the opportunity a couple months ago to get away, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance.

Last week I flew back to the Bay Area for the first time in quite a while. I met with plenty of friends from high school and we tried to figure out how long it had been and what it was we did last time I was out in Northern California.

I was washed over with memories even before the plane landed at SFO. It’s an unforgettable landing as you fly over water until, at the last split-second, the runway appears out of nowhere.

It didn’t feel nearly as long as it had actually been. The scenery is still golden brown with some green bushes interlaced throughout the hills. The traffic is still awful, sometimes taking 45 minutes to go less than 10 miles. My high school is still under construction as it continues to expand into what can now only be described as a small college campus.

Nothing about the professional sports scene is different outside of the massive outpouring of Warriors gear flown far and wide.

‘The Dubs’ as they are also known, were quite a bit worse than mediocre when I graduated high school. They boasted one playoff appearance from the year I was born up until 2012 when they won a heart-stopping 23 games.

(It’s a long-standing pastime of mine to go back and try to name as many of the players as I can on some of those dreadful teams.)

Being in the city when they clinched their third title in four years was a little surreal, but only because I hadn’t seen how much their success had shaped the fandom in the area.

The Giants were out of town during my stint back home so I settled for an Oakland A’s game. The A’s still don’t sell and with the struggling Royals in town I guessed maybe 8,000 people were in attendance, but that’s nothing new.

With hockey and football in their respective offseasons, you still see your fair share of flags flying and t-shirts being sported, but nothing over-the-top.

Outside of seeing lifelong friends, it was the views that were next on my list of things I had missed the most.

Whether you’re in downtown SF, floating through the Oakland hills or even hiking more inland you seriously can’t beat some of the most picturesque overlooks imaginable.

It’s the reason why I can understand overpaying for everything, along with the weather.

As with most vacations it went too fast. There is a lot I miss about the Bay Area and, unfortunately, a lot I did not get to see in five-days time.

Seeing how some of my friends had grown up made me feel way too much like an adult.

Undoubtedly, they were going to ask the question I knew I wouldn’t have an answer for.

“When do you think you’ll be back next?”

It’s a question I’ve been asked before and assuredly will be asked again, but it doesn’t get easier.

Regardless, being able to go home again was special. Knowing that I could have found my way to my old, childhood home from basically anywhere was a cool feeling.

Given that so many places I’ve been in the last few years have been new, it was reassuring to be somewhere familiar.