May 24, 201012:00 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
New Orleans, Do You Still Think About It?
Do you still think about it? I do. It has been 15 weeks now, but not one day has passed without my lapsing for a moment, still thinking about it, and, amazingly, I'm still stunned.
My thoughts usually begin with the onside kick at the start of the second half. With the score already to the negative, the script seemed set. The opposition would get the ball and then seal the outcome early. As the ball was placed on the kicking tee, the predictable march toward a romp by the other side seemed ready to begin.
What happened next provided a life lesson, although one that left one of our guys at the bottom of a stack of 11 beefy opponents scratching for the ball. Yet goodness prevailed, and we learned that sometimes we must take risks and do the unconventional.
My second thought is usually of the interception. There it was, a pass launched from the hand of the heralded warlord with the dual intention of gaining ground and creating shock and awe. But the shock was delivered to the passer, and the awe was in honor of the receiver who was at the right place at the right time but not merely out of happenstance or dumb luck. Careful analysis of film had shown that in certain third down situations, that's where the ball was likely to go.
With the rest of my life needing attention, thoughts of that moment are never able to linger very long, but they seldom shift without a fleeting moment of recalling the way it ended. I guess I had always thought that if and when this moment arrived, it would be by way of a fluky last play, perhaps a dropped ball that bounced our way to be covered in the end zones as the referees' arms shot up vertically. Instead, it ended with the ritual of "taking a knee," a stately dignified closing signifying that the game was already won by the time the last possession began and there was nothing that the Huns, who so desperately wanted to break down the gate, could do.
Then it was over, a brief stunned pause before an eruption that would not end.
For whatever challenges this quirky semitropical city will forever face, no one can deny that in that moment of organized competition between American cities, most of them bigger and richer, we had prevailed. The prize was ours.
That thought will always be with me, probably for at least a moment every day for the rest of my life. But first I will relive again the onside kick.
Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival - Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via email at email@example.com or (504) 895-2266.
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