Monsters and Saints

Bearsaints Sm

Well, this is an interesting turn of events.

Like most anyone who came of age in Chicago in the 80’s I’ve been a Bears fan since their Super Bowl season under Ditka. I’m a fan. Not a die-hard who attends games shirtless in December, but a fan nonetheless.

Which is nothing compared to my wife’s family. Born and mostly raised in New Orleans, they are living caricatures of all-for-the-team dedication. The day I met the men who were to become my father- and brother-in-law — December 28, 1991 — was a Saints playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons — the result of the Saints’ first Division title ever. New Orleans came out strong but ended up blowing it.

I sat in wide-eyed horror as my girlfriend’s brother swore, stomped, threw things, and beseeched God to smite Jerry Glanville (then Atlanta’s coach) with a slow and painful death from cancer. My girlfriend’s father also was disconsolate and enraged, switching from cursing the TV to reprimanding his son not to wish death on anyone. It was a surreal event and one that would repeat itself in style if not in substance during innumerable other football games on which serious money rather than lifelong passion were wagered.

As a long-time Cubs fan I know the perverse pleasure that comes from loving a loser, so I have always respected — if not fully understood — my in-laws’ devotion to the Saints. I have in fact become something of a Saints fan vicariously. But as anyone who knows me or this blog, my heart is with Chicago always. I even mustered some pride when the White Sox won the World Series, I hesitate to type.

So, as Chicago barely squeaked into next week’s confrontation with New Orleans today I received a hug from my son who said “congratulations, Daddy.” I looked at him, looked at my wife shaking her head in anticipation of the inevitable, and said “son, you have one week to make a very serious decision about who you will cheer for next weekend.”

“Oh that’s easy,” he said. “Who dat!?”

2 Responses to “Monsters and Saints”

  1. Angel says :

    God bless that boy. I’ve been checking to see this post because I knew that your home would be a house divided. This is our year we have 2 more wins to go in this season. A Saints Super Bowl win will make Mardi Gras look like a church picnic! WHO DAT SAYIN DEY GONNA BEAT DEM SAINTS!

  2. Brian says :

    As a New England boy who spent his college years in Chicago during the 1980s, it was easy to cheer for the Bears during those Jim McMahon/Walter Peyton/William Perry years. When the Patriots somehow managed to make their way against all odds to face Chicago in the Super Bowl, I was the only one cheering for the Super Bowl Shuffling Crew in my friend’s living room in my hometown.
    But here we are two decades later, and the Patriots are a “dynasty” team like the Cowboys, the Niners, and the Steelers, while the Bears never really made good on the promise of those years.
    I would love to see Chicago beat New Orleans for the NFC title, if only for the sake of having New England earn their revenge and their 4th championship against the Monsters of the Midway.