This entire post is just supplemental commentary to this post over at the Yeller…
There was a commercial a little while back that stated the Saints gave the entire city of New Orleans hope. I’d like to go ahead and clarify that statement as it relates to this one guy…
Ways in which the Saints gave me hope:
I hoped they would no longer be associated with mediocrity.
I hoped they would have a winning season.
I hoped they would make the playoffs.
I hoped they would have home field advantage in the playoffs (for them and because it would bring a lot of tourists and media to the city who may frequent local businesses)
I hoped they would go to the Super Bowl.
I hoped there would be many hours of revelry and camaraderie after their victory.
I hoped for many get-togethers to watch games.
I hoped for the long and healthy careers of the players, coaches and staff.
I hoped for many great highlights to watch on Sunday nights.
I hoped the Super Bowl victory would get the Hyatt by the Superdome redeveloped finally.
I hoped more players would take leadership roles in the community through charitable organizations.
I hoped people who worked at or near the Dome would be very busy and make lots of money and maybe even get raises.
Ways in which the Saints do not give me hope:
The Saints can’t lower my health insurance premiums.
The Saints can’t build levees.
The Siants can’t build schools.
The Saints can’t build hospitals.
The Saints can’t build libraries.
The Saints can’t lower the rents.
Pants says so much here…
American football fans spent 40 years not paying very much attention to the way New Orleans had woven its underperforming football team into its highly ritualized civic and spiritual calendar. New Orleans has a way of elevating or infusing joy into things that other cities may find embarrassing or, worse, take for granted. People think this is a lazy or backward or half-assed place but one thing New Orleans does not do half-assed is love. And New Orleans always loved its football team. For a while last year, people outside of New Orleans were forced to pay some attention to that. And many of those people, as is often the case, just didn’t get it.
Was the Saints Super Bowl victory cathartic? Certainly. But it wasn’t exactly a catharsis for Katrina. First and foremost, it was a catharsis to the many many years of (in good years) mediocrity and (in worse years) ineptitude. We are talking about touchdown play with four laterals and no time left to stay in the playoff hunt negated by a missed extra point. We are talking about never winning a playoff game in the twentieth century. We are talking about a quarterback with his helmet turned backwards stumbling around the field thinking he was blinded by a hit. This franchise broke down Mike Ditka and immortalized Jim Mora Sr. as man with no illusions about the performance of his team.
But I will admit it was a bit more than that. It also a catharsis to the struggles many of us face just living in New Orleans and witnessing the poverty, violence and victimization that exists here. And honestly, those things are what the flood was about in case anyone missed it while uttering, “they deserve it for living there.”
And the Super Bowl celebration was only marginally different than what I experience on most Fat Tuesdays. We are some cathartic motherfuckers. The Super Bowl celebration attached itself to us. We didn’t attach ourselves to it. There is some sort of catharsis on many Saturday and Sunday nights for me honestly.
Jonathon Vilma, Drew Brees, Sean Payton and the other Saints are being amazing community leaders. They are a great group of guys and I thank them for it. But there are many moms and dads out there doing the same.
Back to Pants…
We do what we do. Other people do what they do. Unfortunately what happens often when people who don’t get something are asked to explain that which they do not get is they make something up that they can get. The thing that made the most sense to national media covering the Saints in 2009 was the Katrina meme.
Yes! At the paper we used to call that the “hook to hang it on.” The flood is a good way for America to sum up New Orleans. The story is already there so the journalist has less work to do. The complexities are dismissed. And that’s why Steven Godfrey ended up looking like a jackass. That’s why many people who live in other cities and comment on New Orleans seem like jackasses. They are in such a hurry to assert themselves they ignore the details.
I am actually surprised Godfrey fell for it. I’m thinking if one is in the business of writing commentaries, there should be more critical thought. Everything should be considered. He apparently was critiquing the Saints fanbase for milking Katrina when that really wasn’t a huge part of it. But it’s too complicated (even though it isn’t) for short attention spans.
I never got to read the entirety of his article but if it was taken down by the publisher then he must have failed in his task as a writer somehow. It seems as though he was attempting to justify hating our city because we use Katrina as a way to elevate ourselves. It is amazing that he never considered that his own colleagues perhaps were the ones orchestrating the entire thing. He fucking FELL for it!
I guess when the Lions finally win a Super Bowl they will hang it on the collapse of the auto industry hook rather than the fact the team has been losing for many seasons now and has never made it to the Super Bowl. The Detroit fans need something to rally around and it will be football that gives them hope. Sounds like bullshit doesn’t it? I suppose John Lennon could have wrote that we are doped on religion and sex and football. Only many of us know where football ends and life begins.
I love the Saints. I watch every game. I listen the radio. I holler at my friends about them. I have much love for the defense. I watch replays a little too much. The teams gives me a certain amount of hope. But that hope remains in the realm of football and football related activities. My finances, my health, my marriage, my community – those things remain the same regardless.
And Katrina? I’m not sure if the national media knows this or not but sometimes, I actually go a whole day without even mentioning it. Without even thinking about it. But very rarely do I go a day without showing at least some sort of quiet love for New Orleans.