Friday, January 12, 2007

The New Orleans Saints, the Playoffs, and a Blessed Distraction

When the New Orleans Saints take the field tomorrow night at the Superdome against the Philadelphia Eagles, it will be much more than a football game. I, like so many other people who live here, are very emotionally invested in this team, more than anyone who does not live here could possibly imagine. I don't mind saying that I'll shed a few tears tomorrow. I cried a little bit at each Saints game this season, especially when they show footage related to Katrina and rebuilding the city. The five days I spent in the flooded New Orleans after Katrina made a deep impact on my mind, much of it is terrifying and buried deep in my psyche. When they show footage of the blocked punt against Atlanta, or Reggie Bush's first touchdown on a punt return, I'll get all choked up. Why am I such a wussy? Because life here is so damned difficult and psychologically draining. The Saints' season has at times made us momentarily forget about our post-Katrina world, and that is a welcome drug. For a few hours tomorrow, I won't think about living in a FEMA trailer, fixing our house, suing Allstate, dealing with the Road Home, fighting violence, or making better public schools. Additionally, the Saints players understand the magnitude of their accomplishments on the field. They get what this season means to the city of New Orleans and Gulf Coast region. A month ago Reggie Bush said: "Everybody who lived in New Orleans or is from New Orleans that went through Hurricane Katrina last year, it's really at the end of the day about them. Because we know, obviously, if we win, that's going to give them something to be proud of." We are proud of our Saints. And while it is emotionally draining, look out Philadelphia, because the Saints Are Coming, and I have faith. I gotta...

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