#223: Super Bowl: More Than a Football Game?
Sunday, February 07, 2010
For many people, today is the pinnacle of professional sports -- the NFL's Super Bowl.
For others it is more a story of rebirth than football.
Representing Indiana, we have the Indianapolis Colts from the third largest city in the Midwest behind Chicago and Detroit. It's a city founded in 1820 on land previously occupied by the Miami and Lenape (or Delaware) tribes. It is a city famed for concrete events such as the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 500 and college basketball national tournaments. It is the country's only capital to be located directly in the center of its state.
On the other side of the line are the New Orleans Saints representing the largest city in the state of Louisiana. It also was settled on former Indian territory when in 1718 it was created on land inhabited by the Chitimacha on the Mississippi River. Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. It is a city largely known for fun -- jazz and Marti Gras (French for Fat Tuesday), the French Quarter, Creole accents and Cajun food.
But those are but mere brief descriptions of the two cities with teams in today's game. Both cities are sustained by tourism and government and trade but today's game isn't about that, it's about capturing the heart of a nation and replenishing the soul of a region.
How can we forget the devastation wrought on the New Orleans area by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005? How can we forget the images of homes flooded and washed away, a city lying in ruins amid flood water and mud? How can we ignore its citizens who remain dazed even years later?
A win today by the Colts would most certainly be a great boon to the city of Indianapolis.
But a win by the Saints of New Orleans would help heal those still reeling from the destruction of their community, of the loss of their homes and jobs, of their family and friends.
A win by the Saints would not only show that the underdog can often overcome what is considered a superior team, but would also bring renewed hope to people without any for so long.
It's true for many things that we can't appreciate something until we have experienced it. And, I admit, I was fortunate during the three hurricanes to hit my area of Florida in four weeks in 2004 to not have sustained any losses.
But as a previous visitor to New Orleans and a lover of its blues and its overall funkiness, and as a friend to others who remained in the area in the storms' aftermath, I can empathize and sympathize with the plight felt by so many.
Yes, today will be a football game day, a day to crown a new National Football League champion. And for many fans, that's all that matters.
But for others, a win today will help recapture the spirit of people who refused to allow nature to ruin its soul. A win by the Saints will pull together those who lost everything including hope.
A typical David versus Goliath story?