(Photo from Boston.com)
Beth, a family friend who is really more like family and who has lived in New Orleans for the past ten years called me with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“I had to call someone who understands because I needed to talk to a football fan and oh my god, we might actually win this and I don’t know what to do and I’m freaking out and holy shit this is awesome and I think I might die!”
I asked her where her boyfriend, Kevin, a life-long New Orleans resident was.
“He had to put himself in time out because he was afraid he was going to hurt himself or someone else because he can’t take this because OH MY GOD WE MIGHT WIN THE SUPER BOWL!”
“I will tell you two things,” I said. “One, when a Manning is involved, don’t celebrate until the very last second because they have a way of stealing all your fun and ruining everything and 2) go party. Enjoy this one. And tell New Orleans I said congratulations.”
Because it’s true, I can’t remember being happier for a team that isn’t actually my home team, um, ever. And the airwaves and interwebs are sure to be flooded with “Saints Save New Orleans” stories for the next year now, but you know what? I’m fine with that. We all know that a football team can’t save a city on its own, but it has been a long, hard five years for the Big Easy and she deserves this party. I mean, think about it. The team who calls the Superdome it’s home – the same building that served as a tomb for so many people five years ago – has won the Super Bowl and brought a lot of joy to that city. And maybe I’m a giant sap and am too easily swayed by these kinds of stories, but I’ve always been a sucker for the healing power of a common interest, sports included. New Orleanians are special, resilient, unique people. And they should enjoy this as much as they can. They’ve spent the past five years earning a moment in the sun and they deserve it.
So congratulations, Who Dat Nation. New England would like to shake your hand.