Monday, February 8, 2010

Can Never Go Back

I watched them party, and I couldn't join in.

My oldest boy ran around in a circle in the front yard, screaming and yelling about a victory he didn't even understand. My neighbors spilled from their homes, dancing, yelling and celebrating. My quiet block was transformed as music blared, fireworks popped and an entire city celebrated the New Orleans Saints victory.

And I just couldn't get that feeling.

I tried. I watched the game, I even went to a neighbor's Super Bowl party for a few minutes. I was happy, I wanted the Saints to win. I gave in to my wife's prodding and went out into my yard to join in the festivities with my neighbors. But, I grew tired of it quickly. I just couldn't find that feeling.

I used to have it. Oh, I remember having many a Sunday afternoon and Monday morning in college ruined because the Saints had lost again. I remember enduring the taunts of my friends who cheered for teams who actually won games, and believing that one day the Saints would get over the hump. I remember stubbornly clinging to the Saints when I played Madden football against those same friends, even when the team's ratings were horrible, and willed myself to find a way to win with a terrible team just to prove it could be done.

I had that feeling, but now it's gone.

It's like having a stuffy nose at a buffet. Everybody around me is enjoying themselves immensely, while I keep striving to get a feeling that seems to elude me. It's not that I hate the Saints, I just can't invest so much energy into something that benefits me so little, and I'm perturbed at how many people are willing to make that investment. My city is crazy. The news is filled with the Saints, the schools are filled with the Saints, everything is filled with the Saints. Everywhere you look, it's black and gold, and I honestly wonder if I'm missing out.

My wife doesn't like football and she was caught up in the buzz. She talked about how crazy it was, how she wanted to get out of the house so bad after the victory. My wife doesn't know a defensive tackle from a wide receiver, but last night her eyes gleamed as she contemplated a future with the Saints as Super Bowl champions. She said she just couldn't believe it.

I can't believe it either. I feel cheated in a way, but I also feel relieved. Part me of wishes I could get that feeling again, but another part of me is glad it's gone. I wonder if this is how smokers feel when they quit? It's hard to find a place right now where the Saints aren't the most important thing on everybody's mind, but that's okay.

I know I can never go back.



Black Diaspora said...

When you've been down so long, it's good to be on top, again.

It doesn't matter if you're not the one that's on the bottom, because you can identify with the underdog.

Let's admit it: New Orleans has been an underdog since Katrina. Finally it can celbrate something, even if that something is only the Saint's winning the Super Bowl.

Imhotep said...

Big Man, What a journey. How do you go from being a charter member of the Saints (back then the Aints) fan club to just don't care anymore? Was there an epiphany? a revelation of some sort? Or was the detachment a slow and gradual process? Are your feelings unique to the Saints or does the ennui extend to all sports? Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the feeling that there is more to the story.

Anyway, props to the Saints and the city. Now if the local schools can bring up the reading scores, we’ll really have something to cheer about!

Thordaddy said...

I know what you're feeling, lil man. This game is carefully directed LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE and no one sees it.

Deacon Blue said...

I haven't been able to work up enthusiasm for watching sports on TV in years, not even for championships. Not sure why, but it's been easily 10 or 12 years since I last bothered.

However, I will still endure the Academy Awards.

Big Man said...


It started after Katrina. Tom Benson openly flirted with moving the team to San Antonio permanently when the city was still reeling from the hurricane. I couldn't believe he could be that callous, until I remembered that he's a businessman trying to make money. Then it all made sense.

I got discouraged by that, I got discouraged by how certain black players were treated and viewed by the area's residents. Then all the information came out about the impact of professional football on the player's health. I remember reading that it takes like 10 years off their lives in many cases. I just couldn't enjoy it anymore. The team's willingness to bail when things got rough, the fact taht players were killing themselves to entertain me. It just ate at me, and I decided I wasn't supporting the NFL and I wasn't supporting the Saints anymore.

That's pretty much it.

Tit for Tat said...

Maybe youre missing the point of sports. Its about unity and challenge and celebrating temporary achievements. Its not the end all be all. See it for what it is and maybe you will find that loving feeling again.

Now lets get back to my poor old Vikings and how they got jobbed. :)

Big Man said...

Tit for Tat

I think I am seeing it for what it is.

People refuse to look at the totality of what it is because they would rather concentrate on other stuff.

It's entertainment, true enough. But, it's also violent. It's violent entertainment. That bothers me now. It's why I don't really watch boxing, and definitely not MMA.

It's not that I don't see the beauty of football. Hell, I was a high school football star if I must toot my own horn. But, as I've aged, I've become more uncomfortable with the other stuff that most folks just push to the side. The union situation, the health situation, the PED situation, the media coverage, the black coaches situation, the black GM situation. All of these things have slowly sapped my enjoyment.

Then I wonder at the amount of energy adn attention devoted to such a meaningless activity? All sports are meaningless, but now we have meaningless sports that also hurt people? It just feels wrong.

Like when I was watching the game and they showed a highlight of Jeremy Shockey getting his head twisted around by a hit. I was enjoying the game until I saw that. That reminde me of the violence, and the price these athletes pay to entertain me.

But that's just me.

Tit for Tat said...

I saw an interview with an offensive lineman. He was describing all his injuries and how he was basically mortgaging his body for his families future. The interviewer asked him "Why do you do it, if it is so damaging".
The response was classic.
With a big smile he said. "I looveee football"

Me too, violence and all. Its kind of a microcosm of our life here on earth. I love that too. :)

Imhotep said...

Ok, Now I've a better understanding of your feelings of apathy towards the game. I share some of your feelings as well. As a youngster I loved me some football, and would never miss a tv game. But over time, seeing how the league function, creating a long term disability for each of its participants for a moment of glory, became a big turnoff. When you consider that football players take the most bodily risk, and the severity of the risk while getting paid the least of the major sports, combined with the non-guaranteed contracts! The sport just did not make sense anymore.

All-in-all still a good day (from a civic pride stand point)for the Saints and the City of New Orleans.

Big Man said...

Couldn't agree more with your last statement.

Thordaddy said...

The game is losing its appeal because it's infected with a liberal economic mindset. The game is increasingly player-centric which DEMANDS racial politiking and whiny ex-players who pretend like they knew nothing of the consequences. It continually attempts to enlarge its market by making players wear pink and be less "violent." The unpredictable refereeing is a diabolical marketing mechanism that asserts rematches, investigations, conspiracy theories, etc. And of course, there is almost no loyalty amongst anyone in the business, save LT here in Dego.

The game is fractured and only the "entertainment" value keeps it together. Heck, all of professional sports have, almost unequivocally, asserted that they stand against PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENTS TECHNOLOGIES.

If that ain't the death of sports, what is?

blackgirlinmaine said...

I don't know but your reaction sounds like one of someone growing up and I don't mean that in a negative way. You are a man with grown up responsibilities and the idea is of getting geeked up over something that has no direct impact on your life at a certain stage in life makes sense at least to me.

Raving Black Lunatic