"To Kill a Mockingbird", Harper Lee
For two generations, New Orleans and its football team have been a source of deprecating humor, sometimes scorn, across the face of the nation, and often across our own lips, as well. Still, under the blanket of inattention, a rowdy pack of underdogs and nominal underachievers have outscored and outplayed the best of the rest of the seemingly best.
And we are there.
We have been reading so much lately of the genius of Peyton Manning (a New Orleans boy) and the invincible drive of his Colts team. At the same time, so few people seem to have taken the trouble to discover the charisma, the gifts, of our new son, Drew Brees, who has worked unstintingly for the revival of this broken city he now calls home, or for his teammates who can be found any day on one New Orleans street or other, wielding a hammer or saw, rebuilding a devastated city, while, at the same time, defending the rights of the disenfranchised or begging for dollars to help restore the broken island-nation of Haiti.
As it is obvious to see, these New Orleans Saints are not just a football team. They represent the best of what the city of New Orleans can offer the rest of the world: self-reliance, self-respect, and pride - pride of place, pride of culture, pride of history - and above all else, compassion for others.
Tonight, there is no game to lose; the game's afoot, but long since won.
Bless you, boys! You are the Saints.