Friday, September 23, 2016
Last night a friend admitted to me they weren't really following the Saints anymore because the team hasn't been winning. I have no idea how to relate to that sort of lifestyle choice. I could understand it, I guess, if a person is not into the sporpsballs generally. But if you are a New Orleanian and you are a football fan, then giving up on the Saints just because the team isn't very good in a given season is a deliberate act of denial.
For one thing, if you're only watching the games because you expect your side to win them, you're setting yourself up for an awful lot of disappointment. Football is an entertainment. There are many different types of outcomes and narratives to follow in any one game or season. The wins and losses certainly matter to the players and the coaches but that's because their jobs are on the line. But we're in this for a longer haul and for different reasons.
Being a Saints fan isn't about demanding wins. It's nice when the team wins, of course. But really we are at these games for social reasons. We are there to experience joy or cathartic frustration as a collective action. Football season is second only to Carnival in the opportunity it affords us to do this. These are the exercises through which we establish solidarity with our community. They are how we give meaning to the notion that a place is home. Sometimes the team is bad. But that's never really the point.