Last Sunday was a good day for me. I came down with a case of lazyitosus teeveeadictus, the only known cure for which is a continual direct eye contact with any available cathode ray tube or LCD display. To be effective, this cure should be accompanied by the consumption of large quantities of normally banded food products (i.e., pizza, chili, beer, hot dogs, potato chips, ice cream, wine, and/or fried chicken) and in excessive caloric content
What brought on this condition was the fact that I am a fan of the New Orleans Saints and have been for 20 years. Sunday the Saints played the Minnesota Vikings for the Conference Championship and the chance to play at Super Bowl. For me, this was an earth shattering event. I'll try to explain.
Back in the mid 1980's, I was working at a job that regularly took me to New Orleans on business. At the time I was living in Dallas and had always been a big Dallas Cowboys fan. This particular year the Cowboys were #1 and were just unbeatable. One weekend I found myself in New Orleans and one of the locals invited me to go see the Cowboys play the Saints at the Super-dome. Since the Saints were in just about last place, I did not think it would be too much of a contest, but I said I would enjoy seeing the massacre. When we got to the stadium I discovered that the game was sold out! Those fans were there to watch and support their team, even though they knew the Cowboys were likely to give them a severe beating! It was an amazing thing to see. A huge stadium filled to capacity for a loosing team -and many of the fans were even wearing paper bags over their heads - but they had bought tickets and come to see the game and support their team! I decided, right then and there, that this was a city that deserved a winning team. I have been routing for the Saints ever since. -Although I have to admit, there have been seasons when this was a hard thing to be and I have had to take a great deal of teasing over the years. This year was different, the Saints, with Sean Payton as coach and Drew Brees as Quarterback, have been almost unbeatable. In New Orleans they have a term lagniappe which means "a little bit extra" and that is exactly what the Saints have had this year.
I watched the game and have to say that it was without doubt one of the best, most heart thumping games I have ever seen. It started with a good drive by the Vikings ending in a touchdown, followed almost immediately by an equally good drive by the Saints followed by another touchdown. 7 minutes into the game and the score was 7 to 7! --And that is exactly how the game was played for the next 2 hours. Every time one side managed a score, the other side followed with one of their own. In the end it was an interception, a fumble, a lost opportunity and a 40 yard field goal kick in Overtime that gave the Saints the final advantage and will now take them to Super Bowl for the first time in their history.
When Garrett Hartley kicked that final Field Goal, giving the Saints an instant win, I jumped up out of my chair, clapped my hands, shouted "Go Saints, Yeah!!!" at the top of my lungs. It scared the hell out of my dog and brought my neighbors to their windows to see of there had been an accident. I picked up my dog and gave her a hug and a kiss, letting here know I had not lost my mind, and then looked at my neighbors and pointed generally in the direction of my TV and simply said "The Saints Won!" The "if you say so" smiles told me they were not football fans so, being somewhat defiant by nature, I gave another clap and shout - just to let them know the good feelings they were missing out on - and then closed my window and returned to my little private victory celebration.
There is one thing I regret, however. I would like to have been in New Orleans after that game. I doubt if any Mardi Gras Celebration would have competed with the 'Good Times Rolling' on Bourbon Street Sunday night. On the other hand, knowing me, maybe it was just as well that I was not there... at least this way I know I still be here to watch the Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in the Superbowl and have another chance to get that heart attack I almost got watching this game.
Oh well, the important thing is simply that my Saints Won!
Go Saints, Go!!!