The big, huge moon.
I made the picture earlier in the night because I knew that I would have no position to make it when it turned red and wolfish. I usually don’t chase these events down, but I had to. I needed to cheer myself up.
Because. The NFL playoffs were yesterday. If you recall, I said that it didn’t matter who won. I was raised in Los Angeles and live in New Orleans. Those two teams were playing.
Man. Was I wrong.
I started watching the pregame ceremony. I watched Jimmy Buffett sing The National Anthem. Memories started flooding into my head, my heart, my soul.
I remembered moving here. I thought about how I left with Hurricane Katrina hot on our heels. And, how we came back year after year for various events. I finally couldn’t stand it. It took awhile, but we finally returned. That was hard work. We’ve been back for seven years. I may complain about the swamp, but for better or worse, this place is home. We have another house in the north. We go there to work. That’s about it.
I began to root for the Saints. It was a back and forth game towards the end, when they mounted a drive. A Ram defender committed two major penalties — pass interference and helmet to helmet contact — which would have put the Saints in scoring position. The referee didn’t see it. He claimed. That ended the drive. The game went into overtime. The Saints lost.
The city is angry, disgusted and sad. Probably about half the city was drunk. And, not in a good way.
It gets worse. It always does.
The NFL headquarters called Saints head coach Sean Payton to tell him that the referees blew it. They knew it. The twitterverse exploded. People who don’t normally watch football were howling. A NOLA.com writer who I like reading said that her feed was covered in “f-bombs.” Her husband is one of the lead sports writers who covered the game. He was angry.
Maybe officiating will change. It’s been marginal all year. We’ll see.
I needed to take a walk. Clear my head. The all-seeing dog came with me. A guy wearing a Saints jersey said hi and growled at me. He wasn’t happy. I decided to try to stay away from people. The all-seeing dog is very cute. She can’t go anywhere without somebody wanting to pet her. She was fine just walking with me. Mr. Grumpy. I didn’t want to run into other grumpies.
We turned a corner. Oh my God. That big, giant moon was staring right at me. I made pictures. I did some post production, mostly to clean up the file. This is it.
Seeing the moon and being able to photograph it, helped a lot. Seeing nature like that was stunning. Making a picture is always good medicine. I’m still not exactly happy about the game. But, I’m much better.
It’s hard to explain the team’s relationship with the city. It’s not like most other cities. The Saints were terrible for about 40 years of their existence. They were nicknamed, “The Aints.” People went to games wearing paper bags over their heads. Still, they went.
Along came Hurricane Katrina. The first year during the city’s recovery, they played all road games. Sure, they had home field designations, but they played at LSU, they played a bunch of games in San Antonio, Texas. Sometimes they played at another team’s stadium, but played as the home team.
They didn’t do well.
They started rebuilding. They hired Coach Payton. The signed quarterback Drew Brees. In 2006, they opened the newly rebuilt Superdome against their arch enemies, the Atlanta Falcons. They won. In dramatic fashion with a blocked punt and a score. I remember sitting on our couch in New Mexico, with tears streaming down my face. I didn’t think I would get to see that. When they won the Superbowl in 2009, the same thing happened.
The football team is so wrapped around the city’s recovery that I doubt the two could be separated. New Orleans people are that way. That loyal. Recovery and the Saints go hand in hand.
That’s why today was so painful. The team is great. The players are generous to each other and to the city. We didn’t deserve this.
One more thing. I not a sour grapes guy. If I play hard and win, great. If I lose, I learn and move on. I don’t blame others. This time it’s different. Luckily, the moon was there to help me through it.