Because tomorrow night will be the first time I step back into the dome and sit in the seat I have come to know and love, I honestly planned on writing a high quality essay here. A whole masterpiece that would not only be incredibly heartwarming but also profoundly inspiring, peppered with phrases like "new chapter", "fresh start", and "could be the year." A piece on how great it will feel to be back in the dome, how destined this team seems to be to finally get a championship, how this will be the greatest season in Saints history and how, for me at least, it really all starts with tomorrow. After such an exciting and promising offseason and training camp, how could I not be excited? At this time of the year, hope springs eternal for Who Dats and football fans in general all over the country.
But as I sat down at my computer and tried to get it all out, I just couldn't do it. It wasn't in me. I wasn't in the feel good mood necessary for such an undertaking, found no inspiration and thus everything in my head I thought about writing was just bland and generic crap. I didn't know what was so difficult because I have been freaking out about the possibilities this year may bring since around the time we signed Vilma. Then I realized...It's the Saints.
Don't get me wrong, I really do think this season is going to be great. I always feel like that this time of year. I am just as optimistic as all of you but I believe the saying goes, "Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it." Something like that. While we all have high hopes for this upcoming season we also know how quickly that can all come crashing down upon us from our experiences in years past. Some more than others. We've all been Saints fans long enough to know that what we want or expect to happen in the next couple of months could possibly be in stark contrast to what may actually happen. If you are anything like me, you've gone through all the "worst case scenarios" more than once, maybe while at work filling out your TPS reports in triplicate. You've wondered if Brunell will be able to lead this team when Brees goes down in week 2. Visions of Jason David no where near opposing receivers dance in your head except this time David has a partner in crime and he's all Gay, all the time. Shockey? Forget it, he never makes it through an entire season. We have to at least consider the possibility of complete catastrophe because when it comes to the Saints, it's always a real possibility. The worst part is, you won't see it coming. Things will actually look really good at first. The light will be bright at the end of that tunnel. Then when you're least expecting it, that light will flicker, fade and eventually completely disappear, making the agony that much worse.
I haven't gone into full panic mode yet but some worries are already starting to set up camp in my cerebellum. There are a ton of injuries on this team and they involve some very key players. And we really haven't seen anything spectacular or improved from our secondary, so what's all the hubbub. If we are truly being honest with ourselves, there are a lot of question marks still out there that we still don't have answers to and I think, at least in my case, this optimism is causing me to gloss over some serious issues. This team might just be a mere illusion, a house of cards that could topple over at any moment. Remember this time last season? We were all as excited and hopeful as we are right now, but now looking back we can easily pinpoint certain moments or flaws that are quite obvious but didn't seem so obvious at the time. Be prepared, because by the end of this season, I could easily imagine ourselves looking at each other in sheer confusion, and in total shock of how it all went so horribly wrong. No matter what we think right now about this team, we have to admit to ourselves that we really know nothing. That we're all just fans and the only control we have over the situation is how tightly we can keep our fingers crossed. The season will inevitably play itself out and reveal devastating injuries, last second field goals goal line stands and complete blow outs, among other things, all with incredible excitement and surprise, reminding us all why we love this darn game so much in the first place. But it is sad to note that the Saints may very well be on the wrong end of some of those unbelievable moments .
If you haven't given thought to any of this than you run the risk of being blindsided by the awful pain that is heartbreak and letdown. The only way you could realistically prepare yourself, in my opinion, is to get two of your strongest buddies together (two random homeless men off the street will suffice), spread your legs as wide as you can, hold your arms out in the air and have said group of men kick you in the balls and punch you in the stomach with every ounce of energy and muscle they have simultaneously. Thats the only way you could possibly be ready for the suffering you will feel if the Saints manage to blow yet another promising season.
The only way to heal that pain will be to drink...heavily. I suggest starting early in the morning with a nice bloody mary. Which reminds me, you know where they have good bloody marys? Da Dome. It's more like a salad in a cup with spicy tomato dressing but they really are the best in the city. Really. I wouldn't lie to you. It's the Zing Zang. Definitely nothing like spilling one of those babies all over the lady in front of you after Colston makes a leaping grab in the corner, all while getting drenched yourself by the guy sitting behind you in what is some sort of socially accepted chain reaction waterfall.
Come to think of it, I definitely cannot wait to get back to the same familiar seat I have sat in for a few years now. Good old number 8. The seat from which I have experienced so many unforgettable memories, with 70,000 of my closest friends. Gleason's punt block. Reggie's first TD. Defeating the Eagles in the playoffs (the best memories are the most recent). They were all indescribable and I can't wait for more new ones this year. It's gonna be awesome! I also look forward to seeing the familiar faces of the other ticket holders in my section who all share the same hopes and dreams as me and everyone else in that building and they aren't afraid to express it. And of course I look forward to seeing the boys in black and gold yet again, for its been too long since we last met. And when I do get to my favorite seat in the whole world, I will take a deep breath and know that if this actually really is the year, I will be there to see it all. Actually, I know this is the year. Do you!?