Daddy, do we have to watch this?


My 7-year old son has said these words to me dozens if not hundreds of times. Usually they're uttered when I'm watching the news, any golf tournament without Tiger Woods or, lately, a presidential debate. For the first time Sunday, I heard them during a Saints game.

I took my son to his first Saints game at the Superdome during the 2006 season. He was all of five years old. The Saints beat the Buccaneers thanks in part to Reggie Bush's first touchdown as a pro, a lightning bolt punt return down the sideline. We leaped out of our seats and cheered until our throats were sore. My son was hooked for life. In the last two seasons, we've been to the Dome for a few more games, all of which the Saints somehow won. I hoped against hope that the Saints he would come to know would make all the big plays, win all the big games and be a team of joy and celebration, an escape from the trials and challenges of life in New Orleans. I hoped my son would be spared the feeling that pervades this city on a Monday morning following a Saints loss. The feeling that this isn't what a team on it's way to the next level, what a season leading up to the Superbowl or what a pivotal game against a division foe is supposed to look like.

My son is only seven and he knew things didn't look right in Sunday's game against the reviled Falcons. When Jerious Norwood turned a 5-yard toss from rookie QB Matt Ryan – by the way, is there any team more adept than the Saints at making rookies and second string QB's look like Tom Brady? – into a 67-yard high-stepping touchdown run with 14:40 left in the game, my young Saints fan had seen enough. I turned off the TV and we went out into the yard to have a catch.

Daddy, let's play two-hand touch! I'm gonna be the Giants!

The way things look right now, can you blame him?

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