Have you ever left the dome after a Saints loss and noticed how stone quiet the sound of 70,000 disappointed fans can be? Somewhere in the crowd is the cackle of a few fans that followed their team on the road. They are easily identified by the visiting team jerseys they wear – which, if Providence is truly a Saints fan, are stained with mustard by game’s end. They are rejoicing on a minefield. I dismiss them with the hope that they spent their entire paycheck here during their weekend away and pity them for having to go back to wherever they came from. Returning to nowhere is a stiff tradeoff for witnessing a road win. Our silence, however, somehow drowns them out.

     There is a communal funk whenever the Saints lose, especially if the game has extra significance. A home opener has that. An extra field goal, a stop of the two point conversion or a kick return with a little distance, could have changed our worldview last night. Going into the first game we did not know what to expect from this team. With a win we would now be expecting a lot, and excited about it.

     My Sunday routines change after a Saints loss. I do not usually watch the sports shows or other games. (One year, during October, I was so upset with sports in general that I did not even watch the World Series game that night – which turned out to be a thriller.)

     I know more about history because of the Sunday evenings, after a loss, I have spent watching the History Channel while shunning the highlights shows. Highlights? What Highlights?

     Oh, but when the Saints win! The cheers echo so loud they can be heard in Atlanta. Social activists who scream that we are a divided city can see us embraced in a communal hug.

     Remember the night that the Saints beat the Vikings to get into the Super bowl? I don’t know if the fan base would have emotionally tolerated a loss. We would have been united in the funk of a lifetime and anyone wearing a purple jersey would have been endangered.

     We know, there is next week. It is always there and we have waited for it many times. After a loss it takes too long to arrive. So we have seven days to feel the reality that losses by one point or 100 are all the same on the record book.

     Note to all Saints fans going to New York for the game against the Giants: don’t forget to pack your jerseys.




 BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s book, “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), is available at local bookstores and at book web sites.