January 26, 2010
I have to admit, the Saints conference championship has been very moving to me. I'm surprised to find myself a lot more affected than when LSU won either of their football championships. Perhaps, in my mind, the Tigers were always a good team that would one day find their way back, while the Saints seemed to anyone to be one of those franchises destined to muddle through in mediocrity.
Being in the city after the game Sunday night was amazing. It's possible that there's never been a single city at a single point in time that was so collectively happy. Maybe a lot of cities were that happy when the Nazis finally surrendered, but then again, there were a lot of grieving parents in that mix. As I posted to Facebook, the Greeks weren't that happy to have beaten the Trojans (although I think I put the Spartans. I doubt those were the same people, but that doesn't really matter.)
Even with more printings, it's impossible to find a copy of Monday's Times-Picayune. People are already selling them for $25.
I certainly don't think that there's a team that means more to an area than the Saints do to their fans. There will be a zillion stories about what happened after Katrina, but it looked to everyone like the Saints had to leave -- just like so many of our other businesses, family members, and friends had to leave. The stadium was ruined; talking heads urged the country to abandon the city altogether.
But as Mrs. theskinnyonbenny put so well Sunday night, "We won."
And she didn't mean the team. She meant the millionaires to our left. And the homeless guys to our right. And the old people walking down the street who have been there their whole lives. And those who came after the storm to build new homes. And the fans from Baton Rouge who drive down to watch the game near the Superdome, because they can't stand the thought of missing the celebration. And you can't tell who is who, because we're all wearing the same Saints gear.