It’s been almost 12 hours, but the shock has still not completely worn off.
Or maybe it’s just my mind and body trying to get back to some semblance of normal after experiencing almost four hours of what was a roller coaster of emotions consisting primarily of terror and anxiety, interrupted occasionally by bursts of excitement. Only to be followed by attempts to keep that nauseous sense of dread from taking over the ride.
Yes, the New Orleans Saints are headed to the Superbowl.
There, they will meet New Orleans-native son Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
Yes, that same Peyton Manning who grew up watching his father, quarterback Archie Manning, staring up at the roof of the Superdome more often than not on Sunday afternoons — as the New Orleans Saints of another era were routinely pummeled by opposing teams.
Did I ever possess an “Aint’s Bag”? Of course I did. Yours truly can remember many a game in the Superdome where I, along with a group of close pals, would drag in boxes of Popeye’s Fried Chicken, along with the requisite strategically hidden stashes of liquid additives for our Coca-Colas, up to the nosebleed seats in the Terrace level in the Louisiana Superdome. Then, almost without fail, we would masochistically endure yet another heart-breaking loss by the then-hapless boys in the black and gold.
But not before we had made our hands sore and red from banging on the aluminum panels that cover the walls in the upper deck of the stadium. They made a huge racket.
And not before we had completely lost our voices.
But for some strange reason, we never lost our faith.
Faith in the team, and, well, in the city itself. And trust me, living in New Orleans will test your faith every single day — in one way or another.
In fact, the game last night? Long periods of anxiety interrupted by bursts of over-the-top happiness, overlaid with this huge sense of dread that threatens to take over at any time? Yep. That’s is essentially the metaphor for what it means to live in the city.
As I tell a lot of people — it’s just too damn complicated to explain. But once you experience it, you’re doomed. Nothing else ever comes close.
You might as well face it — you are going to be hearing a lot about New Orleans from the usual press sources over the next two weeks. Please be patient. Let the folks who still call the city home — let them enjoy their time in the sun. They more than deserve it.
Besides, think of what the alternative would have been. Instead of learning what it means to “Second Line,” what a truly great guy Drew Brees is in every sense of the word, and how you make barbecued shrimp from Mr. B’s, you could be watching film clips of pine trees in Kiln, Mississippi, and yet another interview of a deliberately pensive Brett Favre, as he talks about how whether the Superbowl will be his last game or not.
Brett, it really is now time to go ride that tractor. Ride, baby, ride.
And how ’bout the young man who calmly booted that winning field goal in overtime? Garrett Hartley is a product of that Texas high school football powerhouse that sits just down the road from the Worldwide Headquarters — Southlake Carroll High School.
I mean, what else can one ask for?
Well, I guess I could ask for someone else to come in my office today and finish writing this mega-earnings issue of PlaneBusiness Banter that is sitting on my computer — so I could just crawl the net and read all the stories I can find about the game. And continue to wallow in the warmth of the win.
But alas, duty calls. Subscribers, this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter will be posted later today. Talk to you then.