Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And depression set in

I was foolish. For some reason I let myself actually get caught up in a professional sports team.

Oh, I've done it before. I was a fan of the Toronto Argonauts, who until the late 80s had never won a Grey Cup in my life. I was never a major hockey fan; just as well, as the last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup was when my family moved to Canada (forty years ago). I once followed the Toronto Blizzard of the North American Soccer League before it folded. So, I'm no stranger to sporting futility.

But this time I got caught up in all the excitement of the New Orleans Saints making a run at the Super Bowl. They hadn't won more than a single play off game in 39 years (now it's two). They'd never been in the Super Bowl at any time in their 40 year history. They had a dismal record last year, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

My mistake is letting myself think, hope, they could make it to the Super Bowl. In retrospect I started to worry when the Chicago Bears beat the Seattle Seahawks. I didn't like the idea of the Saints having to play Chicago in their outdoor stadium in January.

Logan's birthday party was Saturday. He had a Saints theme. He received a bunch of football stuff as presents. He just had to wear my mother's present to him, a Reggie Bush replica jersey. The gold and black balloons were still up at game time on Sunday.

Alana and I began watching the game. From the beginning you knew the Saints were in trouble. You can tell your players to watch "ball security", but you can't teach it unless they get out in the cold, wet weather and practise with the football. The Bears had that luxury, the Saints did not.

We turned off the television when the realization of their failure was becoming a certainty. Alana couldn't watch any more and requested that I turn off the TV. I was glad she asked.

And that's when the depression set in, followed by a self-berating for stupidly believing in a sports team, for feeling sorry for a team where the cheapest player is making at least three times my salary.

Oh, well, if they had made it to the Super Bowl I'd hardly be able to watch it. At least now Logan can cheer on the Colts and one of his favourite players, Peyton Manning.

And I now detest the Chicago Bears...

2 comments:

Michael said...

I feel your pain. For what it's worth, I thought the Saints had a great season and even played an inspired brand of football at times against the Bears.

I don't think that the weather had too much to do with the loss, though. After all, many of the Bears players had less experience playing in the cold than, say, Drew Brees (Purdue) did. The difference, I believe, was playoff experience. It's a cliche, but still seems to be true, that newcomers to playoff sport suffer from nerves more often than not. Tom Brady types are rare. The Bears didn't have much more playoff experience than the Saints, but they had some, and I think that made the difference.

The same thing happened to San Diego the previous week. When they were focused, the Chargers were obviously the better team. Mental lapses killed them.

Don't know if you watched the New England-Colts game, but for a San Diego fan it was a bittersweet moment when that Colts player intercepted Brady's last-gasp pass and immediately downed the ball.

I'll probably watch the Stupor Bore, if only to see if its Manning or Grossman who achieves redemption. (Onion headline: Bears Lead Rex Grossman to Super Bowl".)

Allan Goodall said...

I don't think that the weather had too much to do with the loss, though.

"Playoff experience" is just a fancy sports way of saying, "morale". It seemed to me that the Saints started to panic after the second (or was it third...) fumble. That, to me, was directly related to the weather. They didn't fumble that badly during the rest of the season. I can only think that they weren't prepared for cold, wet footballs.

I don't deny that a team with more playoff experience could have rescued the situation. If the fumble that resulted in a touchdown in the first half hadn't happened, I think they would have been ahead at the half. That would have put more pressure on the Bears, and the Saints would have calmed down a little. After that second fumble they looked, to me, that they were trying too hard.

Or I'm completely wrong. King Kaufman opined that they collapsed after the missed 47 yard field goal and subsequently being pinned in their own end.


Don't know if you watched the New England-Colts game, but for a San Diego fan it was a bittersweet moment when that Colts player intercepted Brady's last-gasp pass and immediately downed the ball.

I didn't feel like watching. I did watch the first half and then turned the channel to watch Seabiscuit. In spite of hearing it being called one of the greatest playoff games in NFL history, my depression over the Saints was such that I didn't even regret changing the channel.


I'll probably watch the Stupor Bore, if only to see if its Manning or Grossman who achieves redemption. (Onion headline: Bears Lead Rex Grossman to Super Bowl".)

I'll watch it at least for the commercials. You don't have that option. Instead, Global will be running endless streams of GM ads. The same three GM ads.

If it's boring, I can always blog during it.