Monday, September 12, 2016

Dear Saints (guest post)

The following was posted as a friend's status on Facebook.  It gave me chills. She nails the "power of sport" message, particularly the brand affinity and alignment piece of the puzzle.  So naturally, I immediately requested permission to repost her message here on Greening the MLB.  

Guest post written by Kimberly Doley, New Orleanian and yoga instructor at Free To Be Power Yoga New Orleans:

Dear Saints⚜,

Some may be speechless. I have a lot to say and here it is. 

Really proud of you and am sorry for your 5th straight loss. Love this team, always have and always will. As a little girl, I attended my first Saint's game where my dad taught me that if I was a Saints fan, I had to be all in no matter what. Ever since, I have been a faithful fan, sincerely hopeful each year for a winning season that will make the Who Dat Nation proud. My dad prepared me for the strength, the love, and the ups and downs of being a lifelong Saints fan. I know I'm not alone in my faith because the Saints have some of the most die hard fans around... 

Go Saints all the way, Saints go all the way, I believe🎹🎼🎤

This morning, like countless others in the Who Dat Nation, I put on my Who Dat ⚜ gear, ready for you to bring home a win. You always come through at home, especially the season opener, right?!?! Sadly, no. I see that you're just as disappointed as all of your fans are. 

This loss like any loss for our team is a bigger deal than you may realize. What I notice when you lose is that the city and its people suffer more than they already are. New Orleans is a city with beautifully rich cultural and spiritual traditions alongside the tainted history of a booming port city, hosting a robust slave trade and all the debauchery and recklessness that comes with welcoming seafaring vagabonds from far away lands carrying human bounty among other things. While the influx of different cultures contributed to our rich culture, it has also left us with a host of serious issues- racial, economic, social, political, health, education, etc. 

A direct and indirect result of these issues is crime. My car ride to mass this evening was lit by police lights the whole way, including a crime scene ridden with little green cones, an indication of bullet casings. It makes me sad for the victims, people who live in fear of being a victim, and the people who are driven to commit these crimes. We are living through our version of a humanitarian crisis. 

You're probably wondering what all of this has to do with a football team. Everything! 

In a city so divided by so many issues, especially racial and socio-economic issues, we need something to bring everyone together in a peaceful way, regardless of our differences. A Saints win is one of the few opportunities we have right now to live a real life version of the Dream, sing our version of Kumbaya in the form of the Ying Yang Twins' Crunk song, and ride off into the sunset. 

Being chosen as a member of the Saints team, you were brought to this city as a football player and much more. Whether or not you acknowledge or accept it, being a Saint is a higher calling, part of your divine purpose as an instrument of healing to this city. You belong to a team that bears a holy name and wears a fleur-de-lis, the flower of light to guide us out of darkness. 

The fleur-de-lis is a religious and royal symbol for divinity, the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Mother, and three petals representing faith, wisdom, and chivalry/charity. If we lived in medieval times, you'd probably be knights and crusaders. Sounds like a cool job that I would not mess around with. 

So let's get down to business! We know you can't do it alone and as fans, we have a responsibility to support you in your mission to serve this city. I admit and am sorry that I did not give my full support to you today when I know you needed it. 

If you were on that offensive line that kicked ass against Carolina two years ago, I know you heard me in the end zone giving you Who Dat Nation-love among a sea of Carolina fans. It is undeniable that my fellow fans and I cheered you to victory in that game. You're very welcome, I had a great time doing it. 

While you were fulfilling your divine purpose in the Superdome today, I wasn't watching because I was at yoga anatomy training where I learned that yoga heals everyone body, mind, and spirit. We are all called to be healers in some way. You help to heal our city through sharing football, I help to heal our city through sharing yoga. We are lucky that we heard the call and chose to accept it because not everyone does. 

The Saints have always inspired us with your love for the Who Dat Nation, your perseverance, and the cliff-hanging, heart-pumping, blood pressure-raising games. How much worse off would this city be if we had lost our team after Katrina? We are grateful to have you and be on this journey with all of its challenges and breakthroughs. Sometimes we need a loss to humble us, reaffirm our commitment to the goal, and get us on the same page so healing can continue. 

Thank you for being on this divinely inspired path of healing with our incredible city. Let's keep working to transform our people one football game and one yoga pose at a time

Bless you boys! Who Dat?!?! 💖🌈🕉🙏🏽