Sunday, December 20, 2009

The levy engineers are the real heroes

It's a good thing that I won't watch much of the Saints-Cowboys game tonight. It's a great game on paper, with the as-good-as-their-record-indicates 13-0 New Orleans Saints taking on the worse-than-their-record Dallas Cowboys at 8-5. The problem, as the NFL just Tweeted, is that the "3 hr. pregame @ 5pm includes NO native Marshall Faulk giving Mariucci tour of French Qtr." Not since the Super Bowl in 2002 featured Marshall Faulk reading from the Declaration of Independence has the NFL spun such a comedic storyline masquerading as a serious one with the use of Marshall Faulk.

The problem with anything related to the Saints these days, is that you have to hear about what a great story it is for New Orleans, whose die-hard fans never gave up, and for the city that's still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, but is still a turgid shithole that serves both as America's portal to the Third World and an international hub of murder.

In fact, Wright Thompson at ESPN wrote this opportunistic, 6,000-word novella telling us how New Orleans is supposedly the soul of America. America, or at least American media outlets, today loves New Orleans with the same intensity with which it abandoned New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. ESPN even named the Saints' return to New Orleans after the hurricane as one of the greatest football moments of this decade because it was just so inspiring to see professional athletes from other places playing in a city that everybody cared about so much that they let it turn into a post-apocalyptic freak show.

For that reason alone, I have to hope that New Orleans loses today and loses promptly in the playoffs. The themes of resilience, hope and tradition that Wright mentions could work for just about anything, and I don't want to have to hear about New Orleans' resilient spirit again. Let's take Indiana and it's long-suffering fans, perennially stymied in the playoffs and hit hard by the recession, who came together and cheered for their beloved Colts. Or, how about the Patriots, representing an entire region hit hard by both the recession and winter storms, where the seeds of American freedom were planted, without a Super Bowl for a number of years, overcoming adversity to make the playoffs and win a championship?

We certainly can't forget New York and 9/11, Chicago and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Pittsburgh and Three Mile Island, the Raiders and 49ers and the Loma Prieta Earthquake, or even the Chiefs and the Bleeding Kansas period of 1854. And the real heroes, of course, are the troops, who are stationed in places like Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia with ample time to watch football or talk to Terry Bradshaw, where they form the last line of defense between myself and other angry Muslims.

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