Friday, January 22, 2010

Hometown Boy or Hometown Team?

The Mississippi Gulf Coast (and maybe even more of the state and region) has a dilemma this weekend.

We've watched our hometown boy, Brett Favre, go from cocky (but talented) high school and college football player to somewhat settled NFL quarterback to more mature, valuistic, family-oriented star football player.

This weekend, Brett Favre's current team, the Minnesota Vikings, are playing our hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, in the NFL playoffs.

Nearly everyone I know from home is a Saints fan. If they're not, they probably just don't like football. Many of us have remained faithful to our Saints, despite years of losses and disappointments. Some are more fair-weather, but everyone would love to see this team with a heart of gold (and a little black) go to the Super Bowl.

I can remember as a little girl, riding home from church with the family listening to the games on WWL (News Radio 87). My poor Daddy might've been outnumbered in gender, but that AM station, then the game on TV once we got home, won out every Sunday afternoon during football season.

I didn't really get into football until the past few years, but have always kept up with the Saints. I've been teased endlessly: "If you're going to be loyal to one team, why THEM?"

My question is: "Why NOT?"

To me, the Saints feel like home just as much as the Gulf of Mexico, and gumbo, and boiled shrimp. My high school and college both had the Saints' black and gold colors, which just worked out nicely. In fact, until I moved to Baton Rouge and got caught up in LSU, purple was just another shade of the rainbow.

When I moved to Jackson, MS after college, I distinctly remember being in the mall one Sunday afternoon and passing a TV that showed the Saints nearing a win. I was so excited that I ran to the nearest pay phone -- remember those? -- and called my Daddy while jumping up and down and screaming, "The Saints are going to the Super Bowl! I knew it! I knew it!"

With the pride and grounded nature of a true Saints fan, my Daddy said, "Ok, Rebekah... But remember, it ain't over till it's over. They've just reached the playoffs."

And he was right, of course... But now, 2010 might be THE YEAR!!!! :-)

So, back to Favre. Most of the people I've talked to and heard from like Brett Favre, and are proud of his successes, but are die-hard Saints fans, and want to see them go all the way. I can imagine even Brett Favre himself, having grown up in Kiln, MS, less than an hour from New Orleans, secretly wants the Saints to go all the way. I mean, it's the SAINTS!

So, we'll see, come Sunday. But for now, the chant continues...

Who dat! Who dat! Who dat say 'dey gonna beat 'dem Saints?! :-)

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