The Saints have really made a comeback this year, impressing people across the country and thrilling the locals. Credit for this comeback has been attributed to Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Marques Colston, and a multitude of others, but I'd like to claim a little bit of it for myself.
Way back in 1969, my name was pulled by then-Saintsí quarterback Billy Kilmer in a drawing at D.H. Holmes.
I won two tickets to a Saints game, and I was thrilled. I was 9 and knew absolutely nothing about football, but I quickly fell in love with the game. My parents bought season tickets, and I couldn't wait for Sundays at Tulane Stadium.
To say I became a tad obsessed would be an understatement.
I read the press guide like it was the Bible, memorizing players' hometowns, college teams, and their particular stories.
When I sketched in my spare time, it was detailed drawings of Tulane Stadium that I drew, complete with yard markers, Red Cross signs, and sideline benches.
I passed out from the heat at one game, and spent the rest of the afternoon in first aid, fuming because I was missing the action.
When the games were away, I was glued to the television set, screaming with my family so loud my mom closed the windows to shield the neighbors from our lunacy.
My mom brought us to the training camp each year, and we greeted the Saints at the airport when they returned from away games.
When I got married, my husband and I bought season tickets in the lower level of the Superdome. While I appreciated the air conditioning, I didn't really like the feel of the Dome.
The seats were great, but it felt less like real football, with people on our row constantly getting up to buy mixed drinks and not even paying attention to the game. Their inattention annoyed me.
Who goes to a game and doesn't watch it? Eventually the constant losing, change of atmosphere, and lack of excitement started to wear on me.
The day I found myself in the Dome longing for a good book, I decided that I had had enough - I told my husband to cancel my ticket.
He tried to talk me out of it, promising that the Saints would be in the playoffs the next year, and I told him they'd have to go without me. And they did.
If someone had only told me years earlier that my attendance was holding them back, I'd have stayed home from the beginning.
After that it seemed that every time I watched a Saints game, they'd lose. If I missed the game, they'd win.
If I turned on the game for a minute to check the score and find them winning, they'd throw an interception, fumble the ball, or do something to make me question whether or not they could sense that I was watching.
I developed a bit of a complex. Somewhere in the depths of my superstitious little brain, I believed my absence would be the team's good luck charm, and, for the sake of the team, I resolved to quit watching the games. Occasionally I'd give in to temptation and sneak a peak at a game, and my daughter would ask, "Should you be watching that?", so I dutifully changed the channel.
(When the Saints lost to Washington recently a few people asked if I had watched. I didn't, I promise!)
I do still read everything I can about the team and watch the recaps on TV, and from what I read and hear the team's playing great football.
There are no hotdogs, just hardworking team players - exactly what we needed. Missing the games has been a sacrifice on my part, but as a team player I know that sacrifices are necessary for the greater good of the team as a whole, and I'm just doing my bit for the Black and Gold.
When they make it to the Super Bowl, do you think they'll send me a ring?