Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh, The Saints Marched Right On In!

Okay, I'll confess . . . not only did I watch last night's Superbowl game, but I've become a huge Saints fan the past few years. So if you are acquainted with what happened during last night's game, you'll know that it was a great moment for anyone who loves the New Orleans' Saints. (For those who didn't see that game, the Saints won against the highly favored Colts team, 31—17.)

For years I had never been much into football. Then my youngest son insisted on participating in this sport all through middle school and high school. He was the shortest center our high school team had ever featured in that position, and earned a couple of awards for his efforts. (His nickname was Mighty Mouse.) I spent most of his games covering my eyes whenever he went up against players who were twice his size. I'll never forget the freshman game when someone tapped me on the shoulder and told me to watch the game. I had closed my eyes because my son was up against a huge giant of a kid, someone who weighed around 300 pounds and stood at well over 6 feet tall. My son weighed 120 pounds if he was lucky and was about 5' 3” at the time. You can understand my dismay. Devin was going against this guy on offense and defense. As a result, I brandished my purse a great deal and threatened to swing it while marching out into the fray.

When people kept insisting that I pay attention to what was taking place during that game, I looked out onto the field, and saw that my son had hold of the giant's leg. The guy was literally dragging my son along as he hurried toward the goalposts with the football. Devin refused to let go. When the rest of the team saw how hard Devin was trying to hold onto that huge receiver, they ran after both players and helped Devin bring the guy down, preventing him from scoring another touchdown.

I felt like I was watching a similar struggle last night. The Colts came out, anticipating an easy win. And they quickly made the first few points---the score was 10 to 0. My husband, who is an avid Colts fan, was ecstatic and told me to not feel bad when my team lost. When I informed him that a certain lady hadn't sung yet, he just grinned.

Then suddenly, the Saints came alive, and they played their hearts out. They ran plays that caught the Colts totally off-guard. And they won!!! I'm still grinning. ;)

I should explain. I spent two weeks in New Orleans when my husband was sent there on a special assignment for his company. We arrived nearly a year after Katrina had wreaked havoc and what I saw has forever touched my heart. Not only did I fall head over heels in love with the area, which is gorgeous, but I came to have a healthy respect for the residents who were determined to rebuild. I saw boundless courage and raw optimism. I witnessed firsthand some of the heartbreaking damage that had occurred in that area, and the outpouring of civic pride as strangers helped each other out as best they could.

The Saints football team helped a great deal with the effort to rebuild. And their success has meant the world to people who have lost so much. So yes, I cheered for them all night long, impressed with their tenacity despite the odds. Their win is a win for their city, a place of triumph and endurance where the historical theme of joie de vivre (joy of living) is inherent in their ability to survive challenging trials. I suspect there is a lesson in there somewhere for all of us.

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