I am taking my Vote back for the Bandwagoners!!
So this would be my first post ever on your forum, so please bear with with what I have got to say, this will get long. I have got some stuff to get off my chest. If you think this is too long, go somewhere else.
First of all, I no longer live in New Orleans. As a matter of fact, I have spent most of my life living in the Los Angeles area. Born right there in Charity Hospital, went thru most of Grade school in Metarie, I was later shipped to the L.A. area after my pops got laid off from the Shipyards of Avondale. In many ways, I am still connected to New Orleans with family, friends, and the wonderful aura that we have come to love about New Orleans. As much as I visit New Orleans, the city is where I call my true home and where my body will rest when God comes calling for me.
I remember my first Saints game. I was about six years old. I walked into what I know today as the "Bum Phillips" era. I was amazed to see the Superdome in person for the first time where as I have only see it from my car window as we drove by on the I-10 before. Yet, it was a somber mood as something infamous would occur like clockwork. Right before kickoff during the announcement of our starting lineup, people around us had started to put paperbags on their heads with two holes punched out. I had asked my dad why they all did this. He said, "Because they couldn't probably give away their tickets." My dad who fell in love with football when he came to the states as a refugee, went and bought Season Tickets with his Christmas bonus from the year before for the very first time. Frustrated with the Saints, he became a turncoat after that year and has been a 49er fan since riding on the coatails of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and company. The Saints got crushed by the Seahawks that day, yet we stayed for the entire game that day, like many other fans at the Superdome. I learned something very important that day, losing sucks. I hated it, I hated the idea of knowing that the very football team of the city I was borned in were known as losers. Yet, from that day, I vowed at a young age to never turn, never to cheer for another team with my heart without feeling some remorse, and to wait patiently for the day we were winners.
I would grow accustomed to that feeling football season after football season. When late January would come, I would get used to not seeing the Saints past the second week of January. I would get used to seeing "someone else" winning in the playoffs and "someone else" winning the Superbowl. In the years the Superbowl would be hosted in our very own Superdome, it would eat at me inside like a cancer seeing "someone else" celebrating where the Saints call home. For at the end of every Super Bowl, I would say to myself, "how sweet would it be if it were my Saints?" We've all seen it, the Sports Illustrated commercial that comes right after every Superbowl, where it says"Your Team has just won the Superbowl and buy our exclusive Championship pack!" Only to face the sad reality, it wasn't my team, so I would continue to dwell on the fact of maybe one day wanting to buy that package when the Saints win it all.
So on Saturday, I was bombarded with mixed feelings while watching the Saints victory at a Sports Bar in Long Beach. When I arrived, I was greeted with cheers from other fans wearing the same Black and Gold colors. I felt for once a part of something greater, that I wasn't the only Saints fan in Los Angeles. Yet, when I talked to some of these fans, I found out they didn't have the same fire, same history, or emotional attachments to the city. As a matter of fact, more than half of the people there have never even been to New Orleans. I've heard things like "I've been a Saints fan after Katrina" or "the Raiders pissed me off so I am a Saints fan now." Out of probably thirty fans that day, I could honestly point out six people who truly were New Orleans Saints fans. It was difficult to hold back my anger and frustration toward these "tourists."
In my mind, I wanted to ask so many questions out of anger. "Where were you when Cha-Ching stopped ringing? Where were you when the Falcons, Vikings, and Eagles would come back and knock us out in the first playoff round after having a lead at halftime? Where were you when you heard Jim Mora said "we suck" as a franchise and quit after taking the Saints to as close to victory as possible in his tenure? Did you ever get teased for being a Saints fan, mocked, and looked at as if you had some disease of the brain? Did you lose your voice when Az-Hakim dropped the ball? Or watch in awe as Cal Bears/ Stanford like play at the final game in Jacksonville only to miss the extra point conversion to tie the game. Or did you ever have to worry about everyone on your cell phone with a 504 area code and you feared for thier whearabouts because you couldn't hear their voice for days when Katrina came knocking? Or see with your own eyes what is left in New Orleans East?
You see, my post is not a pissing contest of who is the biggest Saints fan or to push away all the Bandwagoners. If you are a Saints fan, please let if be for real. Don't turn when things go bad. Because being a Saints fan is about the resiliency and continuing to have the faith of knowing that one day we will know what it would be like to be winners. We all have been through a lot and I know there are alot more of you on this forum whose gone through more than me. New Orleans has been thirsty for way too long and it is a thirst that can only be quench from the cup of a New Orleans Saints victory. To all the TRUE Saints fans, you know who you are. You know what its like for us all these years. If God willing, the Saints make it to Superbowl, I will be there in New Orleans, not Miami where the REAL Saints fans are; closing my eyes to the surreal experience and possibly saying it and knowing it for the first time, "Oh baby, how sweet it is, how sweet it is...."
Hey Dad, "How bout dem Saints!!"
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