Saints and the sympathy card

The endurance of a natural disaster does not earn a Super Bowl win; hard work and determination does.

by Rohit Singh

The Super Bowl is perhaps the most watched event on television in the country. However, I was appalled to see people on television in the shows leading up to the game saying that despite Indianapolis being a better team, New Orleans deserved to win because of the destruction caused by hurricanes in 2005. A few examples that would make Ayn Rand turn over in her grave include the hypocrisy shown by none other than Saints quarterback Drew Brees. By his own admittance, he wanted to go to Miami because the SaintsâÄô future was not certain. Now, he claims he came to New Orleans because he wanted to be a part of the recovery effort. So the fact that Miami passed him up for Daunte Culpepper and his agent was able to secure him millions of dollars from the Saints as starting quarterback had nothing to do with his decision? As proof of his claim about being a part of the recovery effort, he says he bought a house in Uptown New Orleans rather than a suburb. What he fails to mention is that Uptown New Orleans is a great area to live in. It houses Tulane University and is one of the most culturally vibrant areas in the city. It does not have a high crime rate and is minutes from the Superdome. In a Katie Couric special, we were told that when Brees and his wife first went to New Orleans, Saints coach Sean Payton took a wrong turn and ended in the much-publicized Ninth Ward, and they were very sad to see the devastation. I can tell you that you do not âÄúaccidentallyâÄù end up in the Ninth Ward if you have been living in New Orleans as long as Payton has. In a pregame show, another on television said the Saints did not switch their hotel in Miami from the one they had been staying in for a number of days because they had grown accustomed to living in makeshift arrangements. Please, give us a break. New Orleans played a good game and beat Indianapolis in a convincing manner. Please tell me they won because they worked harder. They won because they made risky decisions during the game. Luck favors the brave. Please do not tell me they won because they had to endure a natural calamity. I think the country has given enough back to New Orleans in the past four years; it is now time for New Orleans to move on and stop playing the sympathy card. The hurricanes of 2005 affected 500,000 people in New Orleans. Today, more than 360,000 people make a living in New Orleans, and while the rest of the country is dealing with job-loss and recession, New Orleans has seen positive employment numbers. I for one feel bad about the more than 11 million households suffering unemployment. While less dramatic than a natural calamity, this is an economic calamity that every city is dealing with. Do these cities not deserve to win the Super Bowl because their calamity did not make for good television? All I ask is that NFL coaches, players and analysts give us a little credit and do not sell us a narrative that fits a certain dramatic comeback. Millions among us are working as hard as we can to make comebacks in our lives âÄî without asking for sympathy. Now, before the hate mail starts, please let it be known that I have been a resident of New Orleans. I was there in 2005. I evacuated a day before Katrina struck and drove 23 hours nonstop to College Station, Texas âÄî a six-hour drive. I lost my belongings to the hurricanes, as did almost all the people I know from New Orleans. I relied on help from friends and strangers and was not disappointed by them, nor by government agencies. I humbly say thank you to all the people of this great country who help, volunteer, donate or pay their taxes and make it possible for 360,000 people to start from scratch and build their lives again. What I do not say is that a Super Bowl win or anything else is my right because I endured a natural disaster. I would not say it is my right to get your sympathies. I would rather say thank you and move on. If a team works hard, it deserves to win, and nothing else matters. Go Vikings. Rohit Singh University faculty Please send comments to [email protected].