Monday, January 04, 2010

Why We Lost to the Cowboys (and Panthers and Bucs), Part II

Okay, I'm going to get a little wacky about karma and such. I'm a little uncomfortable doing this, but I think it must be done. Please ignore this if you're not into such speculation (and note that I don't do this kind of thing much because I'm so bad at at, and it has backfired on me many times in the past).

The Saints have lost three straight games because it had to happen, given the emotional/spiritual dynamics that were starting to stir, on the team and among Saints fans and in the city of New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast. Simply put, in order to achieve the goal we all want--the Lombardi Trophy--we "needed" these losses, because most of us were getting cocky and feeling a sense of magic and destiny. Dangerous stuff, "magic" and "destiny." We shouldn't think of such things.

This is not to say that the team threw the games on purpose. Of course not. I'm just saying that built into the growing sense of power and destiny we were all feeling were the seeds of trouble. Now that we have looked at ourselves and found ourselves quite human and quite capable of losses and silly pride, we can buck up and move on to great things (or at least hard work).

I wrote (and had published in the New Orleans and Dallas newspapers) letters to the editor noting some poor behavior by Saints fans at the Dallas game. In some cases, Saints fans resembled Bears fans at the January 2007 NFC Championship Game (well, maybe not that obnoxious, but still pretty bad).

After the loss to the Bucs, Charles Grant (okay, it's Charles Grant, but still . . .) reported that Saints fans were booing the team as they left the field. I was at the game. I was as disappointed as anyone, but I didn't think the Saints' efforts were boo-worthy. We lost in overtime. We were 13-2 at the time.

As 2010 and the playoffs begin, let's focus on the cleansing that just went on. We and our team were humbled. In 2005, our whole city and region were humbled.

One response to this is to take the entitled approach to it all. You may have seen this (or even done it--I'm sure I have): "I paid my money. I put in some effort. If I don't get the result I want, then screw it and screw you. I'm picking up my toys and going home to pout and to criticize and to blame others that I didn't get the result I wanted."

When most people talk about an attitude of entitlement, they are criticizing "lazy" people who expect things (welfare payments, whatever) for doing nothing.

A far more damaging and insidious attitude of entitlement exists in those who put in some effort or spend some money, and then expect perfect results--or results that far exceed the effort or money put into the process.

The booing fans at the Bucs game, the abusive fans at the Dallas game--that came from a sense of entitlement. "I bought my ticket. I deserve to have my inflated expectations fulfilled!!!"

Now I am hearing rumors that since the big win over the Patriots, a significant group of Saints players are spending very late hours (till 4:00 a.m.) in the French Quarter. Again, a sense of entitlement. "I put in my hours. I've played hard. I deserve this, and I can do it and still get the excellent results I've gotten up to now."

We can't be guaranteed any results--for the Saints, for our city, for our region.

At its best, New Orleans and its residents know this. We know that we can only work hard, have fun, and care for one another along the way. We are guaranteed nothing.

So let's work hard in January and in 2010, and let's have fun, and let's care for one another, and let's see what the playoffs bring.


saintseester said...

This situation reminds me of those famous people who rise to stardom very quickly. People (fans) attach themselves to those famous types, but when the fame starts to flare out, the remoras leave.

Then the lonely, once successful famous person has to decide whether to wrap themselves in the blame game, OR, whether to step, up, work harder and achieve something real.

That's where I see this team today, with its contingent of hard-core forever fans, like you, and the bandwagoners who buy tickets at inflated prices to be part of the dream and are not happy when the dream is not the one they thought they were buying.

They have to work harder.

jeffrey said...

Thanks for the pep talk. I've been really disappointed with Saints fans these past few months. Hoping for better this weekend.