Man, what a game that was Sunday night, right? Totally got my heart rate up. First, the Saints were losing, then they were winning, then they were losing again. What a roller coaster! You might be surprised that I was watching the game. Well, I wasn’t. I just kept an eye on the score with the help of social media.
Yeah, I’m not a football fan. Not really a sports fan at all (though I’ll watch, you know, gymnastics and stuff when the Olympics are on … sometimes). We’ve already established that my kids aren’t inclined that way either. So there was a very low chance you were going to catch me in front of a TV during the game Sunday afternoon. (Anyway, we all know the best time to go grocery shopping is during a Saints game.)
It might seem curious, having been raised in a city of college football fanatics (Baton Rouge) and then moving to a city of pro football fanatics. My mom and stepdad are huge fans. My extended family is full of sports fans. I can’t even call my best friend on fall Sundays. But growing up, sports weren’t a big deal in my immediate family. Sure, my sister was a cheerleader in high school so we dutifully went to games to watch her.
So no, I wasn’t sitting at our neighborhood pub watching the game on Sunday with everyone else.
But as much as I can blame my upbringing for not liking football, the real reason is, I just can’t handle it. The stress.
How do fans do it? How do they watch the team they love win? And then lose? And even worse, when they win again and again and again? The stakes just get higher and higher. So you end up with a situation like this weekend when the Saints were in the playoffs (right?) and getting closer and closer to the Super Bowl (I think.)
And then the score was bad then good then BAD then GOOD and Twitter was SAD then HAPPY then SAD again. My blood pressure was spiking, and I was just unloading the dishwasher, reaching over to my phone on the counter every minute or so to hit refresh on Google or Twitter. If it was that bad for me, how was it for the people actually watching the game?!? HOW DO THEY DO IT? I can’t even handle reality competition shows! The stress … it’s just too much.
So you might wonder, why do I even bother checking the score? It’s because I remember that February day in 2010. My best friend came to town just to watch the Super Bowl on a big screen at a downtown hotel. I joined her. I made a “Who Is That?” shirt (sorry, I absolutely refuse to say those two words that Saints fans chant. I just cannot do it …). I painted a gold fleur-de-lis on my cheek and cheered and screamed and celebrated as the Saints won the big game. I even sort of understood what was going on during the game!
Do you remember what the city was like in the weeks around the Super Bowl? Before we even won, it felt so different. So joyous. The light even seemed different. And then, once the game was over, the jubilance took over, and it felt downright giddy. What I want is that feeling again in our city. Forget the potholes and the crime and all of the other awful stuff we deal with every day. Let’s have that euphoria again.
So while I’m napping or grocery shopping or quietly reading a book during the Saints game, millions of people across the country are riding that roller coaster, alternately cheering and crying for their teams. I may not truly understand it, but I sure do admire it.