Leaving the Superdome last night I thought about another game earlier in the season: As I was leaving my seat after that big Monday night game between the Saints and the New England Patriots, I happened to come face to face with a couple who, as I could tell by their jerseys, were from Boston. We stared at each other for a moment, sending nonverbal communication that had to do with their feeling hurt, and then I said: “Look at it this way. Y’all have the Red Sox. That’s priceless. And y’all have the Celtics.” “We have the Bruins, too,” the female of the couple added in reference the Boston hockey team. Then I concluded, “We have never had a championship at all.” The male companion nodded, smiled and said, “I think your time has come.”
As I approached my car that evening I saw two guys, both also wearing Patriots jerseys, both also showing hurt. I gave the same spiel as though it had become my sudden mission to give comfort to New Englanders. One of the guys answered, “I think this is going to be your year.”
We may soon learn what it’s like to live in a place that has won a sport’s ultimate championship. A few days after the euphoria we will be reminded that there are still crime, poverty and greed, but we’ll also have the right to feel a little better about ourselves as a community. Championships aren’t won just on a field. For a team to have taken the field, or to have a field to play on, there were years of civic “do-gooderism,” boosterism and deal-making, most often by people whose uniform was a coat and tie.
In August we will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of Katrina. What a miracle it will be for the Saints to be starting the 2010 preseason as Super Bowl champs. How far the franchise will have come from the pitiful 2005 season in which the team only won three game, fans were displaced, the Superdome was ruined and rumor had it that the franchise would permanently relocate to San Antonio.
Maybe those New England fans were right: Our time has come, and there could be no more meaningful moment for it to arrive.
Regardless of what happens in Miami, in many ways we have already won the big one.
Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival – Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via e- mail at email@example.com or (504) 895-2266.
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