Monday, January 25, 2010

Believing in the Unimaginable

Okay so today I am going for the obvious metaphor - the Saints overtime win against America's quarterback, Brett Favre, and his team du jour, the Vikings. As a New Orleans native, seeing the Saints not just win consecutive games but actually make it to the Super Bowl, a feat that I am still trying to process, is a very vivid reminder of the power of BELIEF.

As a kid growing up in the New Orleans area, the Saints were always part of the culture. We weren't die-hard fans with season tickets, but they were the home team and we cheered them on. Yes, even when doing so felt like a lesson in futility. I mean, the Saints were baaaaad. They were real bad. People used to call them the "A'ints." Fans wore paper bags over the heads at games so no one would know they were a fan. But to be honest, having a really bad football team was kind of fun in a way. They weren't good, but they were our team. Misery loves company, right?

And then, in the early nineties, magic started to happen. The Saints won. And then they won again. And then somehow, they were in the playoffs. On the school bus each morning, the airwaves were clogged with renditions on, "When the Saints Go Marching In," and people chanted the mantra, "I Believe." Everyone had "WHO DAT Fever". A friend of mine even broke out his mom's craft supplies and paint-penned a t-shirt, carefully painting a gold checkmark each time the Saints won a game. It was an incredible time.

Well, as you can guess, eventually they stopped winning, and things went back to normal. We stopped expecting them to win and started expecting them to lose. The Saints were the home team, nothing more.

That was twenty years ago. Now, over the past few seasons, the Saints have developed into a strong football team, and last night earned the privilege of playing in the Super Bowl. After screaming at the television for two hours and alternating between hiding my face with a pillow and sitting about three inches from the television screen, a field goal cemented what I never thought I would see happen. I mean, I said I believed, but honestly, the concept of the Saints going to the Super Bowl was, well, unbelievable. But it happened. My sister called me, hysterical, and it took about three minutes of us just screaming into the phone before actual words were uttered.

The parallels to personal wellness are pretty clear. I hear every day, and sometimes think myself, about things we can't do. They can't give up sugar. They can't workout in the morning. They can't get their husband to support them. They can't pass up wedding cake/birthday cake/German chocolate cake/whatever cake. They can't eat just one chip, and they can't even imagine just not even eating any chips at all. "Oh I just can't do that," they say. "That is just not going to happen."

Well, okay.

I once thought I couldn't give up sugar; I thought it was completely unrealistic to imagine myself never again eating processed sugar. But I have. It wasn't easy, but I did it.

I once thought I couldn't fit in a second workout at lunch. Too busy. But I do now, at least four days a week, and it has catapulted me to my next level of fitness.

It was never that I couldn't; I just had not yet.

Seeing the Saints make it to the Super Bowl has reminded me that just about anything can happen. So if you plan to tell me this week that you "can't" not have pizza with everyone else or you "can't" make time for some cardio or you "can't" pass up your co-worker's special whatever, think again. Because dude, if the SAINTS can go to the SUPER BOWL, you can put down the chips.



Jamie said...

"It was never that I couldn't; I just had not yet."

I love this, Heather. Big thanks to you (and the Saints) for an inspiring start to the week.

Debra Bonson said...

WHO DAT!! Awesome post, Heather!!