I would love to be able to spin some morality tale from this story of the success (so far!) during the 2009 season of the New Orleans Saints. I would love to be able to write a poem, or a pedestrian blog-post, or a newspaper column, about how the (so far!) 13-0 2009 Saints epitomize [fill in the blank].
But I can’t. The Saints are a professional football team, period.
They are, however, a football team whose colors and symbol — the fleur de lis — I have followed faithfully since, as a nine-year-old native New Orleanian, the expansion 1967 Saints first professionally kicked the pigskin in Tulane Stadium.
My father (who died this past April) took my brother Ryan and me to the very first Saints’ regular-season game — against the Los Angeles Rams. Tulane Stadium, Sept. 1967. I vividly remember sitting in the south end-zone of Tulane Stadium watching, cheering, as the Saints’ John Gilliam returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown. I remember also that the Saints lost that game. And lost so, so many others in the 42 years since.
Yet I continued to follow the Saints. (How irrational, how inexplicable, is that?!) And this year finds the Saints, for the first time in their history, finally among the elite teams in the N.F.L.!
Embarrassingly I confess that I’m obsessed. Every Sunday, I can do nothing — no work, nothing — during the Saints’ game, because I’m glued to either the t.v. or to the Internet as I follow the Saints’ every play.
None of the above means anything. 53 incredibly wealthy athletes are playing for more wealth and more fame than I can even conceive of. They don’t know me; I don’t know them….. And yet, I am deliriously happy that, finally, my beloved New Orleans Saints are a force to be reckoned with in the N.F.L.!!!