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New Orleans Saints rise from the ashes

Wade McIntyre
Wade McIntyre

It’s hard to escape Super Bowl fever in South Louisiana this year. The New Orleans Saints are in the game, something most Bayou State residents thought might never happen in their lifetime.

I’m not much of a football fan, don’t follow any teams closely, and up until a few weeks ago could barely name even a handful of Saints players.

I haven’t watched more than a quarter or two  of any Saints’ game all year, though I’ve caught the end of some exciting ones on radio.

Maybe it’s all the commercials on television during football games that turn me off. Or it could be that I’m one of a rare breed in south Louisiana, a Saints fan without being a football fan.

Football makes me groggier than a mandatory committee meeting. I’d rather take the garbage out ten times than sit through an entire football game forced to stay awake. I could read Moby Dick backward and it would entertain me more than a typical NFL or college game.

But Sunday, I’ll be watching at least part of the Saints/Colts Super Bowl game. I’ll do this thing because I’m a Saints fan, which is far more complex and convoluted than being a mere football fan able to stomach the sport as a whole.

Being a Saints fan up until the NFC championship game this year routinely exposed me to anguish, hate, disbelief, joy, ecstasy, shock, pain, regret, torment, hope, ridicule, loneliness and rage as this so-called football team ceaselessly tormented me with woeful, inconsistent, lackadaisical, ultimately incomprehensible play on the gridiron.

All that changed this year, miraculously.

Now, the Saints are winners, winning so often they are in the Super Bowl.

They have done the impossible.

And they are carrying a city in the throes of hurricane recovery with them. Rarely does a team in sports mean so much to a city and state, to its fans, than the 2009-10 New Orleans Saints.

If these Saints could rise from the ashes of  mediocrity and athletic nothingness like a mythical football phoenix, good grief, think what the rest of us can do if we set out minds to it.

The Saints won’t ever make a football fan out of me, even if they win the Super Bowl on Sunday, but they don’t need to do that. Football is a waste of time, but like many others, I’m a  Saints fan win lose or draw. It doesn’t get any better than that.