Monday, February 8, 2010

Thanks, Seabiscuit

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 5:59 PM

I’ve been trying to get my head around the fact that the Saints actually won the Super Bowl ever since the on-sides kick heard ’round the world and Tracy Porter’s immortal pick six. It’s as if everything that happened has been repeating itself on a video loop in slow motion in my mind — and also right in front of me at the same time. It just hasn’t sunk in yet.

THE SAINTS HAVE WON THE S-U-P-E-R B-O-W-L!

No matter how many times I say it or hear it, I just can’t grasp the enormity of it. Tears won’t do it justice, no matter how long and often the flow. And words? Well, fuggetaboutit.

Then I started thinking about other great comebacks, other great but unlikely heroes, and I immediately thought of Seabiscuit, the unlikeliest thoroughbred champion of all time — and, fittingly, “the people’s champion.” Seabiscuit was small, knobby-kneed and had a funny (i.e. defective) gait, but the little bay colt was all heart — much like our Saints, and very much like our QB, Drew Brees.

The Saints’ victory last night over the Colts was, in so many ways, the NFL equivalent of Seabiscuit’s 1938 match-race victory over War Admiral. The imposing War Admiral had won the Triple Crown a year earlier and came from the one of America’s most prestigious racing stables. Seabiscuit was a cast-off, the scorn of racing’s cognoscenti, hobbled by adversity and injuries, trained by an unorthodox nobody, and ridden by a half-crippled, washed-up, too-tall-to-ride and blind-in-one-eye jockey. Like the Saints and New Orleans, Seabiscuit and his teammates leaned on each other. Like the Saints have become America’s team, Seabiscuit became America’s horse. Both are perfect symbols of the triumph of the underdog.

Fittingly, Seabiscuit’s match race against War Admiral occurred on November 1, which, as all Saints fans know, is also the birthday of our beloved team. Seabiscuit defied all the odds and won that race by dint of old-fashioned hard work, preparation, and grit. Likewise, Drew Brees out-performed our beloved native son Payton Manning (of whom I am a devoted, lifelong fan) through hard work, preparation, and grit. And one more thing: Like Seabiscuit, Drew Brees is ALL HEART. We Saints fans saw it all season long, and the world saw it in the glow of victory last night, as he held up his son while his eyes glistened over with tears and he dedicated the victory to the people of New Orleans.

New Orleans, that most un-American of cities, has given the nation America’s Team. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to shake Drew Brees’ hand, but if I do, I’m just gonna say, “Thanks, Seabiscuit."

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