Sal Liberto promised me that the Saints would win the Super Bowl by at least 3. I believe him. He predicted the score of the NFC championship game and was right. In the last four minutes of the NFC game, the folks I was watching with began to “shoulda, woulda, coulda.” Me, I was a doubting Thomas (actually Sal) and said just about every bad work I knew. In that four-minute span, I decided I would not read the Times-Picayune sports page for a week, I would not allow myself to care so much about winning again, and then I leapt over the coffee table with joy when we won. What a roller-coaster of emotions.
I have never had an NFL team of my own. Even as a southerner I could never imagine myself saying “who dat” or caring whether Dallas won or the Buccaneers won. I did not own an NFL piece of clothing; the closest was my Florida State Seminoles national championship t-shirt.
I care now. I am a “new dat” who dat.
I think we are the worst kind, overly committed in many ways—much like Presbyterians who become converted Catholics. WE want to proselytize in the worst way. “What do you mean you won’t wear a shirt with an owl on it that says, who dat? Don’t you get it?” “What do you mean you threw out the sports page, that’s my favorite!” (Like right, you’ve never “saved” it before, in fact, you never read it before…ok, and I admit reading and scanning are not the same things.) “What do you mean you forgot that it was Black and Gold day? Here…put this on, it fits…be in the number.”
There are three things about this season that move me. Three themes that you find in almost every editorial, every article written about the Saints and this magical time: Belong, Believe, Become. These words capture the essence of our lives, the roller coaster of emotions that make up living. We want so much to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Our hearts were made to seek truth and love, and we want so much to explore all the possibilities before us.
So yes, to belonging to the “who dat” nation; yes, to believing ‘the Saints by 3′; and yes, to becoming more of a new New Orleanian every day.