Category Archives: New Orleans Saints

Misery: The Reasons to Continue Living a Miserable Life

Sunday September 26, 2010 the New Orleans Saints lost a home game in overtime to their toughest competitors in the NFC South this year  – the Atlanta Falcons. At halftime both teams were tied as well as at the end of regulation play. It was a well-played game with nuns as guest of honor, a huge and emotional  crowd and some really impressive play by so many from Vilma and the defensive squad to Thomas, Henderson, Shockey and Colston — but especially it featured a superb performance by Lance Moore. There was a good performance with Drew Brees but also some interceptions. The notable failure of Hartley on two field goal attempts and having Bush off the field with an injury were the most notable factors contributing to the loss. It was a glorious game hard played between two teams. There was nothing bad about it except the final result but the loss did remind me of the so very many very bad days in the past.  It reminded me just a tiny glimmer of how it felt to root for the local team when things looked so very bad. I expect the Saints to end up being pretty good this season but even if they are not I will be a Saints Fan. That fact reminded me that in many ways I have been very unhappy and displeased  most of my life by so very many things.  I remembered that in some ways the Saints of the worst season match my life more than the Saints of the good seasons or the Saints of last year’s spectacular season.

 I have decided to focus on all that is good about living a horrible  life in this post. Maybe this can be used to discourage a trend of suicide somewhere. Maybe it can be used to make those who do not feel miserable feel better about themselves. I am writing an autobiographical note. Many of my autobiographical writings have  touched on this theme but this is a note focused on one of the themes entirely and directly. This is an effort to look at my life primarily as a prolonged and intense misery.

I think that in all of this story of misery and unhappiness I  will start with my right foot. There is a rather large birthmark on top of it and it tends to varying degrees of swollen, painful and deformed dysfunction. I am more aware of that than usual this week. Sometimes I can participate in many  strenuous activities and it does not bother me much for many months and other times it keeps me in cheap sel applied braces and home therapies for months at a time with seldom any break from these routines — but I am still mobile, ambulatory and active most of every day. I do not remember my birth and so I wonder if I was crushed or injured, if it happened in utero or it was genetic.   I have vague memories related to this injury as a child including the fact that I never had a good foot doctor and also that some adults discussed amputating the foot and how I never recovered respect for most adult opinion after that. Since those days my life has led me to feel that Hell is somehow a very subjective thing and that I was really born into hell in many ways. The world is at least out of sync with what I would call the idea of what is good. Why that may be is a very complicated question if one really tries to answer it adequately.

Now at 46 years of age I  am experiencing some of the signs of aging. Those things do not improve my quality of life.  However, the main thing I remember is how many and varied the bad times have been. How very bad the very bad times have been. It is interesting that I do not feel I have suffered far more than everybody else. In fact I  have known people who were suffering much more than I was when I met them. But things are just so amazingly awful that I have often been caught up in complete amazement at how often multiple very great evils oppose one another and squeeze out almost anything that I could call good. I look back a t times when I helped a child  or an adolescent  pass a difficult course and I feel pretty good about that. I look back at times I dropped off a box of food, a bag of candy or medicines with people who really needed it and I feel good. I look back on bringing people  in jails with limited resources  small bars of soap and  pieces of fruit with satisfaction. I look back on writing about special overlooked stories about interesting people  for newspapers and other publications  and I feel good. But overall I think of how much was always getting so much worse and still is getting so much worse and  how horrible it was to be able to do so little good.

I just feel discouraged, well not just discouraged but I do feel discouraged. I feel so sad for all the bad things that happened to people I knew and cared about but could not really help.I also remember countless good deeds done to me and to others but I  am truly amazed at how many truly horrible things I have witnessed in my life. Literally I do feel that “things have worked out” amazingly badly on this planet. That the human condition is surprisingly horrific. My own life is simply in harmony with this larger trend.  I have sometimes described this to close friends as a sense that one is playing a game for which the winning score is 21 or over but one has a handicapped starting position which make it impossible to get past zero in the number of plays one has available. Thus the most heroic efforts would result in what the fair observer would regard as normal nothing.

I am not coming to this realization from the point of view of someone who is innocent and totally free of any of the evil he sees in the world. It is more probable that I regard myself as an unrealistically tough and resilient player in the dark and seedy games of life. Yet there are a number of things I really do regard as evil even if I have done them and consider them to be things I understand well. Likewise there are people I have cared about and who have mattered to me whom I could not really call “good people”, “true friends”, loyal or anything else along those lines  despite the connection between us. Overall they were in my honest opinion at the very least bad guys or baddies depending on your dialect. But I am not willing either to write off all that was good about them.  Overall, the context was just rotten to the core and they were part of that rotten milieu. However, there was good in them, in us and in the environs.

I have looked hard and listened intently in life. Hope has not been something I have been inspired to see or feel a great deal in the searching I have done. There have been moments of hope but they have been islands in a sea of other things.

All of this makes me conscious of the fact that when good things happened in sports, work, creative or other projects involving me or near me I was happy and enjoyed them, I did live in those movements. Part of that means that I am still living in the moment  of many happy things — one of them is that the New Orleans Saints are a great football team.  I don’t believe there is anything bad about good per se. In other words it is just plain good to see good things happen.  But compared to a lot of Saints fans these days I will be able to handle to lows a bit more easily.

I am afraid there is no limit to how low the lows will go however, this post has not become a list of horrors and evils. Just to list diseases, forms of violence and terrors that have claimed my friends is not enough to make this into that kind of post. I have worked very hard to accomplish very little in the big picture and I will keep trying. “Maybe”, one hopes, “life as a whole will be like being a Saints Fan. That would mean that despite many sad and troubled times of defeat there will come some times of happiness and victory that are so great nobody can question them.” That is a long hypothetical mental quote isn’t it?  If the day of clear joy and goodness does not come there will still be  those things I listed in the beginning that really happened. Those are similar to the better seasons the Saints had in the past before they had these last few great years. It would be nice to be happy but being sane is nice too. To keep on and know things are bad is to recognize that life has value and that if things really ever went well one could appreciate the good times  better than if one had called the bad times good. I really have been and still am enjoying the success of the Saints. I wish I could afford a little more hope but I do enjoy the good moments with family and friends. I do value the good memories even if I think they are atypical.

One of those rambling posts…

This is a rambling sort of blog post about a bunch of different things that have little in common except that I am interested in them right now.  This is a sort round-up post in the broadest sense. So here comes a numbered list folks….

1.  Despite disavowals  of doing so I have recently posted comments again on the Lords of the Blog and The Norton View in response to some of Lord Philip Norton’s posts on those sites.

2. I missed the New Orleans Saints preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings without a really good excuse. Although this is only a glorified scrimmage (for the benefit of people who do not know our professional sports culture) it is still a bit shocking.

3. China is officially reported as the world’s second largest economy now. My own time in and involvement with China has a somehow slightly different light cast upon it because of these facts.

4. I bought birthday gifts all recent months but I have bought a birthday gift for my niece whose birthday is August 3rd, my sister whose birthday is August 5th, my sister-in-law whose birthday is August 8th and for each of three nephews who celebrated their birthdays together on the 14th of August. These sorts of calendrical anomalies really remind me of how limited my income is these days — but I did my best and hope it was OK…

5.The BP driller for the crucial relief well is a man named Wright with an impressive record and he feels that this is one of the toughest jobs he has ever done. He is also confident that he will succeed.

6. The name of the giant skimming ship that was sent here and did not work well in choppy seas was A Whale. This name has many associations for anyone here like anyone anywhere else. Acadians and the many other cultural groups have many people who use naturalistic names and appreciate them.  However, it is also eery for Acadians who see them selves as children of the Jonas in some ways as New Englanders relate to the Mayflower.  Jonas is the same personage as Jonah swallowed by (but also arguably saved ) by a whale. Nonetheless, this is not new because almost all sailors who read the Bible use Jonah as an unlucky term and Acadians are fairly unique among Judaeo-Christian seafarers in using or seeing the term distinctly. Neither Jonah nor his shipmates nor his ship were destroyed in the story after all.

7.  I had a very nice niece with one of my nieces today. While at lunch we ran into my ex-wife’s paternal aunt’s husband and his son and two of his grandsons. We  chatted and I introduced everybody. All of this makes me revisit my past which I am always doing anyway.

8. Both of my brothers who are fairly recently married have wives that are expecting and one nears delivery while another is to find out tomorrow if she is expecting twins.  All of this makes me daydream about my future which I am always doing anyway.

9. In the last few days I have bought eggs, bacon, varied canned goods, sodas, some condiments, sliced ham, milk, breakfast cereal, jalapeno and cheese pull bread, frozen fish and varied paper and soap products. In some houses and in this house at other times that would amount to really shopping and stocking up but here and now it amounts to getting oddments necessary to mostly sustain people in using up what we have before it goes bad and postponing the real shopping until such a fairly regular massive undertaking is ready to be undertaken.

10. In life there are different kinds of highs and different kinds of lows. Right now I think I am in the weary not entirely discontent blues.

BP Oil Spill and The Current of Current Events

Since the Oil leak began and the Deep Water Horizon Rig sank at Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast many things have happened. What I mean is that because of  the oil spill we see a skipper committing suicide, pelicans dying, a response worker dying of complications and no end in sight. But there are  other things that have happened too.

1. Since this mess started the UK elected the first Conservative or Liberal or non Labour coalition government in thirteen years.

2. Since this mess started the USA has won its group in the World Cup tournament for the first time in decades.

3. Since this mess started the longest men’s tennis match ever recorded has been played.

4. Since this mess started Louisiana’s own New Orleans Saints got their world championship rings with the fleur-de-lis on them. 

5. Since this mess started LSU lost its chance for the College World Series which is still going on and is still great baseball.

6. Since this mess started the National Spelling Bee has seen hard competition and has produced a winner.

7. Since this mess started this year’s TONY awards were given out to the exceptional achievers on Broadway by the American Theater Wing.

8.Since this mess started numerous prominent and accomplished people have given speeches at their commencement exercises on college campuses.

9. Since this mess started the US Supreme COurt has issued several opinions which will affect the lives and government of many Americans.

10. Since this mess started the North Koreans and South Koreans have done many things which deserve much attention and can affect the Position of the US in the world.

11. Since this mess started several large budget feature films and clever independent films have come on and off of the screens in most communities in America.

12 Since this mess started the first tropical depression has formed in the Caribbean.

13.Since this mess started the world has kept on spinning.

I hope that Americans and others who know us and do not live on the Gulf Coast or in the lower Mississippi Valley they will be understanding if we who do live here are a bit off. I hope that they will understand if we are a bit out of touch with life and the things we used to take an interest in these days. It is hard to explain if you do not live here what it is like to have this mess going on and on and on and on and on. It sort of reminds you of hell on the discount plan or some slow and horrible wasting disease…. So we may not be up to date on everything else.

In Time of Lent: A Few Thoughts

This Lent has begun for me with yesterday’s Ash Wednesday mass at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Abbeville. The modified fast and abstinence from meat which the Church still reqires of it adherents where I live combined with the ashes on my forehead and the foreheads of others helped to make the change into this season more palpable and real for me.

I am not going to write much about these things just now. This year has been a rather Lenten year in many ways over the last twelve months. So the sobering feeling is minimized when one was already in a grim mood. The events that made the carnival season a carnival season for me related a great deal to the success of the New Orleans Saints football team. That is not to to say I did not cut and buy king cakes, follow the Mardi Gras events at a distance and remeber previous seasons. But I did less than usual. My usual observances are not among the most extreme or even the large group of moderately active carnival participants. But Lent has come and brings all its associations of spirituality, seafood, a more somber Catholic liturgy and the slipping away of our Southern U.S. winter.  I am really quite ready to think and emote along Lenten lines.

The Crest of the Carmelite Order which operated the Mount Carmel Elementary School I attended.

 As a Catholic Christian my life is marked with moemories of many other Lents. These seasons define my religious identity over time far more than many other more notable and pronounced ceremonies and holidays somehow. 

My brother Simon Peter is confirmed and my sister and Godchild Mary is his sponsor.

 Whether in school, family or parish life — Lent has been important. Not all of my associations and memories are so clearly defined as Catholic experiences as those shown in these three images. But many countless experiences and are so very Catholic.  

My Sophomore Class Award from the Franciscan University of Steubenville

 

So I head into Lent. That is my only comment really in this post. A definitive transition. One thing I like about my religion and faith is that it provides some transitions.

The Saints Win the Super Bowl and Lombardi Trophy

The New Orleans Saints have won the biggest contest in the sport they play. This makes them one in 43 in reaching the Super Bowl and one for one in winning Super Bowl’s played.  The victory in sport will not end all ills and secure all good values but it is a very good day. 

Owner Benson lifts Lombardi Trophy

I have seen that all of us here are affected and are rejoicing. There is goodness in having long endured and seen this achievement. There are many great stories from the season and the game. 

 

Tight End Jeremy Shockey Celebrates the Game’s Highest Achievement

I congratulate all the team and all my fellow fans. It is but another part of our journey towards many good things and out of many bad places. There is hope and joy in this land today.

 

Saints Quarterback Celebrates with his Son After Winning The Super Bowl

It is good for our hearts to see the players and coaches trying to build lives here and help to rebuild a city. They are seeing progress in a region as well.  So do we all. The struggles continue but today is a day to look on the bright side of the situation here and in New Orleans.

Winning the Super Bowl Part Two: The Organizations

The last post I put up was an analysis of the Quarterbacks contending for this championship.  This post relates to the organizations as a whole. Who will prevail and why between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts?

The Saints and the Colts both have defenses whose official ratings are below average. I suppose that to some degree these teams disprove the old adage that “Defense wins championships”.  Of course that is an over simplification. There are a lot of oversimplifications that I will not have time nor energy to decipher in this short analysis. However, since so few people read this blog I suppose you cannot expect much collective bargaining power. I will make a flying passing analysis of the whole organization except the quarterbacks to compliment the first part of my analysis.

2. Comparing the organizations outside of the quarterback position.

I. Lets compare the coaches first. Jim Caldwell is a rookie head coach but has been with the Colts as a coach for eight years. He has the advantage also of having been with Tampa Bay from 93-2000. He should have a great deal of experience with the climate in Florida during this time of year — the human climate as well as the meteorological climate.   Sean Payton did coach at Miami for a year or so but unfortunately it was the wrong Miami — Miami of Ohio. However, when the impressive early season with the Saints in 2006 ended, Payton was chosen the Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, the Maxwell Club,  Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America and The Sporting News. He seems to have just kept improving since then.  I think he is up against formidable competition but if there is ever going to be a price to pay for being a rookie head coach then Payton will exact it from the other Payton’s head coach Caldwell. COACH GAME READINESS: ADVANTAGE SAINTS, SLIGHT.

II. The next thing to compare is the Bench. Here I am including the quarterbacks not included in the first part of this analysis as well as all the rest. The Saints have so much variety and diversity on offense that I think it takes the pressure off of any given payer’s relief and therefore strengthen’s the whole Bench. I do not think that Drew Brees’ loss could have been survived in any earlier game and leave them capable of winning this game. However, with Burnell as field marshall I think the Saints could march in to victory if Brees left after a first half lead. It would be hard for them to out gun the Colts but possible to hang on. I think if Dwight Freeny is only in marginal condition and a couple of key Colts (Manning and somebody else) then it will be very hard for the Colts to win.   Saints fans have to hope for Vilma and some others to have big games on defense but even so they are a very brad team. BENCH: SAINTS ADVANTAGE, MODERATE.

III. Special Teams is another area to compare. The Saints totally surpass the Colts in punt returning. In almost every other area their special teams perform comparably. I think that the Colts plan on punting very little. That means that the advantage is not likely to count for a whole lot. If Hartley cracks under pressure as he might it would be a foreseeable cost of the key player being so inexperienced and this further narrows the gap beyond statistics. SPECIAL TEAMS: ADVANTAGE SAINTS, SLIGHT.

IV. The last category is the Super Bowl Culture. There are many small factors which make up playing in and winning a Super Bowl that are distinct from the other games a team could play. In each and all of those factors the Saints have little to put up except Sean Payton’s stint on the winning Giants team. Shockey knows about getting there but did not play the game for his ring. These advantages are hard to quantify but they are real. SUPER BOWL CULTURE: ADVANTAGE COLTS, LARGE.

I think that both for the game as a whole and for the organization besides the QBs the final result is too close to call. I am pulling for the Saints but am not picking anyone.

Thoughts About Winning the Super Bowl Part One — Quarterbacks

I am going to class this post as being one of my most “thinking on-line” posts and one of the least complete essays. I am going to address the question: Who will win the Super Bowl?  I will warn you in advance that the final analysis reached here will be short of a true pick.  I am pulling for the Saints.

1. Compare the quareterbacks:

I. Payton Manning has played in this field several times and has won a Super Bowl here.  However, Both teams have played there this year and the saints won a game there. Both quarterbacks and several key players watched the Pro-Bowl there.  Miami is closer to Louisiana than Indianapolis and there is a bit less travel time. COMFORT: ADVANTAGE PAYTON SLIGHT.

II. Brees led a thirteen game streak. Then he really rested much of the last three games of the regular season. He then won by 31 points and squeaked out a victory over Favre and has positioned himself almost perfectly to win the game in terms of momentum. Not likely to be far off from his best game Brees is coming into this week as ready as anyone gets. The bad news is that Manning’s year and pace are almost as good. YEAR’S MOMENTUM: ADVANTAGE BREES SLIGHT.

III. Over twenty Saints scored this season. Kickers like Hartley, defensive touchdowns on a team that creates takeaways often and random chance must be recognized. However, there are still the capacities of Bush to run, take a screen pass and return a ball. There are still the the power and ferocity of elements like Shcokey and Hamilton doing very different things with the two Thomas players. There are still the varied targets when the colts have to cover Shockey, Colston, Meachem and Henderson when a pass is a foregone conclusion. Drew Brees is a masterful leader for this complete attack.  That means that he will use all the advantages this gives him. This leads to this thought, yesterday I went with family and some friends to see the American tour of the Lipizzaner Stallions doing Dressage. Although the name and animals remind us of the Colts I think the Saints resemble these values of fully developed teamwork best of the two teams. COMPLETENESS OF OFFENSE: ADVANTAGE BREES MODERATE.

IV. The facts are that Payton is taller and has a superior field of view. He is heavier and can complete a pass after receiving more force in the  first fraction of a section of contact behind the line. Both are exceptional skill athletes. PHYSICALITY OF ATHLETE: ADVANTAGE PAYTON MODERATE.

I think the quarterback contest is too close to call.

The New Orleans Saints Going to the Super Bowl.

There is a lot to be said about the Saints going to the Super Bowl. First, I am really happy about it. Secondly,  when they won the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings I did feel that moment of euphoria that comes rarely in a lifetime of being a sports fan. Thirdly, I have loved the Saints almost all of their forty-three years and this is their first Super Bowl. I am and should be very happy for the next nearly two weeks watching the build-up to the big game in Miami. I like that they honor the Fleur de Lis, the outline of the State of Louisiana and the name “Saints”.  I like that Devery Henderson is from Oppelousas and played with distinction on the Louisiana State University Football Team. I like the fact that Tom Benson has owned the Saints for a good while and has some history in the area he has built up. I like the fact that recent comers like Reggie Bush and Drew Brees have made a contribution to the local community using their considerable influence in ways that do them credit and are a help to the city, state and region where they play. Jeremy Shockey who is very new is one of my favorite football players and has excelled at tight End. It is a great day and a great occasion and I AM HAPPY!

Unfortunately, I am often a glass half-empty kind of person. There are some glass half-empty aspects of this event for me as well. One of them has a bright side along with its dark side. Payton Manning and Eli Manning are brothers from New Orleans who have deep family roots in Mississippi where the Saints have many fans and they have each taken a team other than the Saints to the Super Bowl. The Team they beat to win the Conference Championship was led by QB Brett Favre who grew up in Kiln Mississippi which follows the Saints and he has taken the distant Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl. In addition Jake Delhomme ( who may retire) has taken the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowlis an athlete who once played for the Saints and is from Louisiana’s Acadiana region. He was the QB at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette which along with LSU is also one of the schools I can call my alma mater. There have been great Louisiana players and are still such in many places and while I am glad the NFL has provided them with work I am also aware of something too transitory for my taste about this economy and system. 

I am glad that the New Orleans and Louisiana generation growing up now will have a team that has distinguished itself but that comes after years of social and legal chaos and various oil booms and busts have remade much of the state and city and where storms plow up the eroded coast and wreak endless havoc. Again, it takes some of the shine off of everything for me.  I salute the many achievements of the Saints and rejoice in the Super Bowl contest but many side stories remind me 0f  all the things that are different from I might wish were the case in managing this state — past, present and future. The truth is that sport, football, competition and other things related to this do matter a lot to us here. I just wish that over the long view the context were and had been very different.