I’ve never been the kind of person to pretend to be into sports that I’m not really into. While I was something of a tomboy as a child and played about every sport available to me, there aren’t teams that I follow religiously or extra channels I order to ensure that I can watch every game of a certain season. (Case in point: my sister had to tell me that the school I’m currently attending upset the number two team in basketball yesterday. Oh, right!) That said, I do love sports, and I enjoy watching sports (clearly not on a regular basis, but still…). If a Colorado team is in the playoffs or there is a major sporting event on the teevee, I’ll probably tune in, or at least try to keep myself informed.
In comes the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl, of course, is different. A lot of non-diehard sports fans love the Super Bowl — whether for the commercials or the food or the drinking — and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of them. But because this Super Bowl was different for some people I love, it was different for me.
See, my officemate and dear friend E.Lee went to Tulane for law school, as did her boyfriend and a lot of her close friends in DC. I went to a Super Bowl party at their house, replete with gumbo and jambalaya and king cake (oh my!). I won’t capitalize on their emotions or try to adopt them as my own, but suffice it to say: this Super Bowl, this game, meant a lot to them. And not because of the sport, really; as Mr. Luz put it in a heartfelt speech to the crowd, it was never about football. It was because this meant a lot to New Orleans, and because more than any other city, that city would and could appreciate winning a big game like tonight’s. E.Lee said it well when she found out that the Saints were going to the Super Bowl:
The people of New Orleans are rare. They have the fortitude to make it through the hard, heartbreaking times and the spirit to anticipate the joyful times that make it all worthwhile. It’s not about Katrina, it’s about unabashed hope in spite of endless disappointment. It’s always been that way in NOLA, and here is their great reward. Congratulations, New Orleans — the Black and Gold are going to the Superbowl!
Perhaps most impressive about Saints fans, and New Orleans folk in general, is that they have an ability to effortlessly draw people into their circle. The spirit of the city was infectious tonight, and I may or may not have sobbed along with the people for whom this win was personal. Those people wouldn’t judge me for that, or think I’m just half-heartedly jumping on the bandwagon; they’d say “Welcome the fuck aboard,” “We know,” and “Have another beer.” And I love that. That attitude is why I’m so happy tonight, and why this game managed to feel personal for a girl from Colorado who’s never so much as been to New Orleans.
What I’m trying to say, I guess, is WHO DAT. And congratulations, New Orleans. Your people and your gumbo have won me over.
[Posted by Mallory]