Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh when the Saints go marching in...

Sure, that was a cheesy title, but you'll live. It's also perfectly apt. This is a sports alert for those of you who don't care about sports (this means you, Abbie).

As you're well aware, I'm a huge Texans fan. They are my favorite NFL team, by a long shot. Even though they've been tough to watch at times. And the Longhorns are my favorite football team.

And you're also well aware that I'm a huge fan of all things Texan. Let's face it. You might have a different opinion of Texas than I do, but you're wrong. More on this later.

With the Saints going to the Super Bowl after a stellar game against the Vikings, things are different. (Quick side note: I can't believe how great that game was, considering five of my least favorite [read: most hated] players were involved: Reggie Bush, Brett Favre, Jeremy Shockey, Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen).

Anyway, the Saints going to the Super Bowl is just flat out enormous for the city of New Orleans. Remember, just a few years ago, the Super Dome was leaking and full of people fleeing from Katrina (the Storm, according to people in New Orleans). Now, the Dome is a symbol for redemption and rebuilding.

Now, of course, football is king in Texas. High school football. College football. Two NFL teams. It's all huge in Texas. If the Texans ever make it to the Super Bowl (hell, even the playoffs), Texan fans will go nuts. But it won't compare with what's going on with the Saints.

There is no city that loves one team more than New Orleans absolutely loves the Saints. For so long, the Saints were the only team in town. And they were bad for so long. Sure, there were a few scattered good years, but for the most part, the Saints were the Aints. Yet, the entire city rallied around the team. Not just the football fans, but the ENTIRE CITY.

For nearly the entire season, there wasn't a murder during a Saints game. For a city that is still among the most violent in the United States, that's a telling statistic. The Saints just bring people together.

After the storm, the Saints played an insane game against the Falcons on Monday Night Football. U2 opened the game. Then the Saints blocked a punt for a touchdown early in the game. Listen to the crowd. It was pandemonium.

Sure, it was just one play, but for people who live in New Orleans or love New Orleans, it meant much more. The fans were already in a frenzy, but this sent them over the edge. It seemed like this meant everything would be OK. New Orleans would not only survive, but would thrive once again.

Do you remember where you were when Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans? Do you remember feeling things might never be the same? Do you remember having sad conversations with your friends and family about what could happen? Do you remember having uplifting conversations reliving old memories at the same time? Do you remember taking in refugees? Do you think you'll ever forget that?

Now, do you remember where you were when the Saints made it to the Super Bowl?

Rooting for the Saints isn't the right thing to do because you've been to New Orleans and had a po'boy or a hurricane. Or a beignet or a hand grenade. Or a chili omelet (with cheese) or a Bloody Mary while doing your laundry. Or caught some plastic beads or golden coconut.

Rooting for the Saints means you're rooting for the city of New Orleans to survive and come back stronger than ever.

Having gone to Tulane and grown up to a degree in New Orleans, I'll always have a soft spot for the Saints. The Saints are more than just a football team. They are a symbol for the entire city. More than just a fleur de lis. Rebuilt. Redeemed.

Getting to the Super Bowl means that the city is almost all the way back. Winning the game would mean so much more. Even though the Colts are favored and likely to win, New Orleans is back.

Oh when the Saints...Go Marching in...


Laura Proc said...

Who Dat?! I love the Giants, but I think anyone who has ever lived in or loved NOLA should be a Saints fan right now. I remember graduating in that Superdome, and I remember the heartache everyone felt after the storm. The Saints will find a way to win...and I wish I could be on Bourbon St after the big game!

Mari said...

Great posting Vik!!