Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sailing on a sea of Black and Gold...

As you may have heard, Saturday afternoon Dave and I (lucky bastards that we are) got to go to the big game at the Superdome… the playoff game between the Saints and the Philidelphia Eagles.

Now, I normally don’t make too much of a fuss about it, but I’m a big NFL fan. (for my overseas readers, that’s the National Football League. And when I say Football, I sure as heck don’t mean soccer… I mean the game where we inflate a pig to throw at people and then bang into each other like drunken goats) I’m not one of those guys who plops himself in front of the TV every Sunday and watches every single game throughout the season… but late in the season, something inside me just gets all twitterpaited with the excitement of the upcoming playoffs and Super Bowl. Most of my life, I have been a NY Giants fan (go Big Blue Wrecking Crew!) but second to them in my heart for the past 10 years have been the New Orleans Saints. For most of my time living in this city, the Saints have been the quintessential loveable losers… The nice guys who try real hard, but always seem to blow it in the end like in an old Abbott and Costello movie. In short, they were the “Rob” of professional sports without the raw animal charisma. As the end of the season approached this year I was amazed that the Saints hadn’t blown it, and like everyone else in the greater New Orleans area I found myself yelling “Who Dat?” far more enthusiastically than I had in years past.

Problem was, the Giants were looking pretty good too. I actually surprised myself when I breathed a sigh of relief when the Giants were eliminated. I wouldn’t have to root against the Saints… who in addition to playing some superior football, were giving my Katrina-battered Neighbors something happy to talk about.

I say all this so it will come through just how excited I was when Dave offered me the ticket to Saturday’s game. I was beside myself… I did a little victory dance at my desk at work. I let loose a primeval ‘Yaulp’. I giggled uncontrollably like a schoolgirl for hours. I called everyone I knew that I thought would care. Most were happy for me. Others scared their child by yelling “You suck!” into the phone. Loudly. Dizzy’s mom still won’t speak to the “Damn Yankee what thinks he’s a Saints fan.”

I did not care. I was going to the game. “Who’s going to the game?” I would say to myself in the mirror, giving myself a ‘thumbs up’… “this guy!”

I had remembered the hoopla surrounding the Giants’ season (1990) when they went to the Super Bowl, and figured I was prepared for what awaited me when Dave and I arrived at the Dome. I was wrong. The cab let us out almost a half mile from the stadium, because that was where the tailgating began. As we walked closer, the crowds became thicker, a sea of black and gold jerseys upon which we were afloat. Even before the game, we received more than one high-five from faithful Saints fans that were simply delighted that the team had made it this far. We got there about an hour before the doors opened, and strolled through the crowd, people watching while various bands took the stage set up outside, adding to the party atmosphere. Wherever we stopped to rest or just take in the view, some stranger would start chatting with us about how great the Saints have been this season, and how they’ve been coming to games since the franchise started, and how this was their year. The crowd swayed to the loud jazz music coming from the band as they stated playing “I believe/Saints go all the way”, and the party was suddenly in full swing.

Let me tell ya… no one knows how to party like New Orleans. There were folks in costume everywhere… from old standbys like “Holy Moses” and “the Whistle Monster” to a septuplet of Elvi (or is it Elvises?) all decked out in matching black and gold jumpsuits. There was one group carrying around a bald eagle in a noose, at least one witch doctor I saw, and a guy dressed as an incongruant bottle of Duff beer.

Dave would later insist throughout the game that the Duff guy needed to get up and dance or something.

There were also a few Eagles fans circulating in the crowd, followed incessantly by a chorus of “boos” and “hisses”, as well as some more colorful terms I won’t go into here. We were following one such fan around, laughing at the comments of our fellow Saints fans, when the doors next to us suddenly opened, and in we went. Our seats were in a suite (skybox), a new experience for both me and Dave. It was catered complete with food, beer and drinks, so we grabbed a brew and watched the Saints warm up as the Superdome slowly filled. A roving photographer took our picture, ans suddenly I felt like one of the 'beautiful people'. (A fact I would later scream loudly after I got more beer in me) The music was being piped in from the stage outside, and the Steve Miller band took the stage while Dave started pointing out which player was which. I am ashamed to admit that without their uniforms on, I didn’t have a clue.

Predictably, the Superdome filled. The music started. The national anthem played. The game was on. We soon found out that our suite was right next to Deuce McAllister’s family suite, and so we got to hear his family yell at the coach every time they took him out of the game. The game itself has been recounted by better sources than I, so I’ll just skip to the after game fun…

We followed the river of black and gold (a tributary of the sea, apparently) as it made its way down Poydras street (effectively closing the street to traffic) to the French Quarter to celebrate. Dave and I found ourselves suddenly among 10,000 of our closest friends, most of whom were drunk. Everyone that stopped to chat/hug/high-five/scream ‘who dat’ with us, I would say “So, you’re coming with us to Miami, right?” while Dave started going on about renting an RV for everyone and bringing only a Hawaiian shirt, a swimsuit, and a Gumbo pot. After the twentieth time this scene played out, Dave grinned at me and said, “You know, I think we’re gonna need a bigger RV.”

Indeed.

From the Dogs Of Atlantis Management: Rob has a picture of him and Dave (taken by the roving photographer in the skybox) with Reggie Bush in the background warming up on the field below, but the scanner at DOA headquarters has been on the fritz. We will see to it that it gets posted as soon as we can.

2 comments:

Dreamwalker said...

Brilliant writing - I could picture it all so clearly.

It reminds me of when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup (+/- football without protective clothing) in 1995, and it seemed as if the whole world was one great party. We got to bed really late that night/next morning :)

Dreamwalker said...

I forgot to add CONGRATULATIONS on the Saints win!!