the team’s support staff is the photographer as carlos avila gonzalez and me. The team leader is Deborah Gee, a distinguished feng shui practitioner who lives in the Bay Area. In her quarter century of practice, Gee has introduced feng shui to many Americans through her television and radio programs.
Feng Shui (pronounced fung schway) is the ancient Chinese discipline of harnessing the life force of life energy, ch’i (pronounced chee and historically spelled qi), to promote health, prosperity, and serenity. warriors would probably settle for two out of three.
Reading: Feng shui san francisco
ch’i flows like an invisible river, either calm and free, or clogged and polluted. the goal of feng shui is harmony and balance of energy: yin (night, moon, sleep, meditation) and yang (sun, movement, activity).
There are practical elements to feng shui (you paint a baby’s room calming colors) and mystical elements.
“It doesn’t matter if you believe in feng shui or not,” said the late great feng shui master thomas lin yun, with whom Gee studied. “You have no choice. Your life and destiny are intertwined with the workings of the universe and nature.”
ask the giants and the 49ers. gee inspected their chronicle spots before they opened, and nailed them down.
• Touring the Giants’ ballpark in 1999, Gee said, “The team will do much better here.” the giants improved in 11 games that season and you know the rest. Gee found a worrying design element in a corner of the Giants’ clubhouse, sharp angles that produced “poison arrows of ch’i.” That place became Barry Bonds’ locker, followed by hapless tenants Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Marvin Benard, and a vanishing Tim Lincecum.
• At Levi’s Stadium just completed in 2014, Gee said the lack of shade would be a major problem, especially on the expensive sun-baked seats. bingo. Gee also didn’t like the architectural gaps in the stands at both ends of the upper deck, causing the stadium to leak ch’i like a broken teacup.
and now to the center of persecution. The warriors took Chronicle’s request for inspection so seriously that our tour guide was Rick Welts, team president and director. the sand has been his baby since its inception. additional information and insights were provided by lisa goodwin, vice president of corporate communications for warriors.
gee praised the arena’s basic exterior design, with its spiral effect on top.
“The architectural design determines the way the ch’i moves through space,” he said, “and the spiral architecture of the sand creates a sense of movement. mimics the spiraling movement of ch’i. it is active yang ch’i, which gives more energy to the building and the players, and gives a sense of upward movement, symbolically raising the status of the warriors. the design has a rhythm and feel that epitomizes the fast pace of the team when it’s playing at its best.”
surroundings and neighborhood
oh-oh. trouble on the street.
chase is in the middle of a dense and busy neighborhood with narrow streets and limited parking.
“Highways are arteries of energy,” Gee said, “so if that energy is blocked in any way, it will also block the way energy moves in and around the arena. … think of space as a human body. if there is blockage or toxic energy, it will have the same impact on the mind and body of everyone in the space.”
welts is sensitive to traffic and parking issues. some predict epic growls during the game. when gee talked about traffic, welts said, “you mean because we’re in san francisco?” in other words, “should we have built in turlock?”
gee is sensitive to hives sensitivity.
“I know the warriors are doing everything they can to increase (use of public transport),” he said, “but I think only time will tell if there is a problem or not.”
On the west side, the arena is flanked by two large new office buildings to match, the headquarters of uber.
gosh he said, “those two buildings symbolically represent fu dogs, the protective or guardian lions that are seen in front of palaces and temples, and today in front of businesses and homes. these two buildings have protective power, symbolically, but only if the businesses that occupy them are successful. if not, then the ch’i of failure can be contagious.”
One problem: Across Third Street from the arena is UCSF’s sprawling medical complex of doctors’ offices, treatment centers and hospitals. these can generate what Gee called a “sickness ch’i” toward the main entrance of the persecution center, or “mouth” of ch’i.
gee emphasized that he was not demonizing hospitals and medical centers, which are places of healing. but ch’i is ch’i.
To help mitigate this stream of problems, Gee said, there is a large structure in the square, a television broadcast studio wrapped in a huge spiral staircase where people can sit and relax. the spanish steps, as welts calls the structure, will help deflect any troublesome ch’i from across the street. it’s also positive feng shui that according to welts, the warriors and the ucsf people have a very good relationship.
chase has two mouths of ch’i, one facing west towards third fairway and the other facing east towards the bay. gosh liked this post because the water element promotes the energy of wealth. she loved an art installation outside the entrance: five huge chrome balls, each with a huge mirror. mirrors line up to bounce images and create endless views. mirrors attract beneficial energy and deflect negative energy.
however, in the lobby just inside that entrance, gee spotted a problem.
geez: “the lobby design has some sharp angles that generate what are called poison arrows of harmful energy, which can negatively affect fans and players.”
hives, hearing “poisonous arrows of damaging energy,” he commented, “we’ll call this the charles barkley entrance.”
the foyer inside the west entrance will feature a giant alexander calder mobile, and gosh he said mobiles are an important feng shui energy generator.
no hits here since gee.
“Definitely a feng shui nod,” he said, surveying the seating area and the court.
The most striking interior feature is the huge HD video screen/scoreboard.
“The light and color that it emanates will generate a lot of energy among the fans and the players,” said gee. “While it’s bright, it doesn’t generate the glaring, unnerving, exhausting heat of the sun at Levi’s Stadium.”
gee sat on the warriors’ bench, closed her eyes, clasped her hands together, and prayed silently.
“I wanted to bless the bank with the ch’i of calm,” he explained, “to help draymond control his temper and avoid technicalities.”
the changing rooms
the designers nailed it.
The clothing of the warriors is circular. the ceiling features wooden beams like the spokes of a wheel, a tribute to the roof of the oracle. midcourt is the oracle midcourt logo. Gee said that these elements provide a “ch’i positive predecessor”.
“the (round) shape promotes communication and camaraderie,” he added. “This locker room, to me, feels like a sacred place.”
gee added: “I have a feng shui tip for steph (curry), klay (thompson) and draymond. I would advise moving the lockers further away from the entrance. that puts them in a position of feng shui power, gives them dominance and clear minds.”
told that green had selected a locker near the entrance, gee said, “i strongly suggest that draymond reconsider.”
The visitors’ locker room is rectangular and much less grand. the entrance to the room requires two sharp angle turns.
“oh my god, this is like a parallel universe,” said gee, “a dramatic contrast to the locker room at home. when you walk through the door, you immediately face a wall. that blocks energy. … these sharp angles and turns will shake and throw off the mind and body of visiting players.”
“Right angles are much more efficient to build than circles,” welts said innocently. “So our circular investment went to the home team.”
gosh refused to assign an overall letter grade to the chase center. Unlike Levi’s and Giants Ballpark, Chase was dropped into a dense neighborhood, presenting variables that cannot be predicted.
geez, he said, “kudos to rick welts for his transcendent vision of the center of persecution.”
As for issues like the poison arrows in the east lobby, gee said, “there are feng shui remedies that I would highly recommend. since those are considered “heavenly secrets”, they can only be shared when someone with a true heart asks for help.”
the ch’i ball is in your court, mr. welts.
gee concluded, “I’m a long time fan of the warriors and I really want them to flourish and continue to play happily. I feel like the warriors have the force of ch’i on their side here, and all they have to do is to harness it and find strength in ch’i.”
Scott Ostler is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. email: [email protected] twitter: @scottostler