They too are well aware of the fact that the Saints have been playing like shit.Okay, so maybe Ralph's right. I still think it's too soon to call it, but at the same time, it's getting a little late to keep hanging our hats on "it's early." We're five games in now, and "small sample size" is beginning to ring hollow even to me. Maybe the Saints really have "shown us what they are" by now, and it's up to us now whether or not we want to believe what we've been seeing with our own eyes. If it were possible to just "flip the switch" and go back into 2009 juggernaut mode, surely they'd have done it by now. Maybe "the magic" of 2009 really is gone, and it ain't coming back. At least not anytime soon. If that's true, then the question for us as fans becomes "How do we deal with it?"

One of the bedrock principles on which this here blog is based, is "Be a fan in whatever way damn well suits ya."

Which doesn't mean that we'll refrain from calling you on it if you're being a douchebag about it.

Some folks seem to think that Real™ Fans are supposed to DEMAND EXCELLENCE at all times (meaning that you should bitch and moan incessantly about anything short of absolute perfection.) That's just being a douche.

Others are personally offended (for some reason) by any criticism of the team whatsoever, under any circumstances, and just can't wait to throw the critic off the so-called "bandwagon" if not the CCC. Douche.

Still others seem to think that a requirement of being a Real™ Fan is insisting that they suck when they're playing great, and insisting that they're great when they're playing like shit. Doosh.

Some folks don't really give a shit one way or the other, as long as they see themselves on tee vee. Others seem to be constantly tabulating their own personal "return on investment" in terms of dollars-per-win. Doosh doosh doosh.

Ultimately, being a fan is a very personal thing. There are as many different "types" of fan as there are "types" of people. Some of us are cheerleaders, some of us are thoughtful critics, some of us are worrywarts, some of us just want to be in that number and let the chips fall where they may. Or, in other words, we're just fans. As long as you're not being a douchebag about it, who is anyone else to tell you how to be a fan?

But the other bedrock principle on which this here blog is based, is "Saints Football should not be a drag."

Which is why, despite pretty much all the evidence being on Ralph's side at this point, I still just can't bring myself to get a head start on being miserable. Should worse come to worst, I'll be miserable in January, thank you very much. And not a minute before.

I guess I just don't understand how there's any sense in making yourself unhappy now over the possibility that you're gonna be unhappy later, and/or that you're not as happy now as you used to be for a while there.

That might work for the Moz, and yeah, I'll concede that by all accounts, it rocks to be the Moz. But at the same time, I'm pretty sure Steve himself would tell you that being the Moz ain't all it's cracked up to be. Because while he oughta be enjoying his fame, his millions of dollars pounds, acres of cars and walk-in humidor, he can't because he's (still!) too busy spending warm summer days indoors writing frightening verse to a bucktoothed girl in Luxembourg.

There's no denying that the 2010 Saints (so far) aren't anything like the 2009 version. But if you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with. It's a hell of a lot more fun than pining over an old flame and bemoaning all the ways in which your current interest just doesn't measure up, isn't it?

Shouldn't this be fun? Ultimately, it's a choice, right?

Win or lose, for the time being anyway, it's still up to you whether it's fun or whether it's drudgery. Why would anyone choose the latter now, before they have to? We'll all be crying in the adult beverage of our choice anyway come December if the Saints don't get their heads out of their asses.

But in the meantime, it seems like many Saints fans are in a full-blown race at this point to be the first on their block to abandon hope. And for the life of me, I can't figure out what's so appealing about that.

Like the Uptown Lady jeffrey ran into the other day. For someone who claims that she doesn't want to go back to the Bad Old Days of the Aints, it sure does seem like in her head she's already halfway there, and she's in an awful hurry to finish the trip.

We Saints fans sure do suck at frontrunning. Which I suppose is understandable to a point. After all, we sure as hell haven't had a whole lot of practice. But clearly we're uncomfortable with it. We kick ass at celebrating, as we proved pretty much all spring. But boy do we crash hard when the celebration's over. I mean, for crying out loud, the Saints are still the Defending Fuckin' Super Bowl Champions. (High five!) They could go 6-10 and miss the playoffs, and that will still be true until somebody else hoists the Lombardi. Frontrunning is supposed to be fun.

Meantime, they're 3-2 and there are 11 games left. On one hand, that might as well be an eternity. They're only one game off the best record in the NFC, for crying out loud. But on the other hand, there are only 11 games left (in the regular season.) Before you know it, you're gonna wake up one morning and it's gonna be another 6 or 7 months until more Saints football. We only get 16-20 of these a year. Why on earth would anyone choose to spend any of them being miserable when they don't have to?

And it's hard to break the inertia too. Once you've made up your mind that "this is who the Saints are" and abandon hope, the Saints could go on a 4 game winning streak, and you'll still be miserable after each one of them. You'll write the first one off as "luck." Then the second one will be "ugly." Then the third one, there will be some other objection. And all of a sudden you've wasted a full month finding reasons not to enjoy it. Because you had already made up your mind, and it's better to be right than to be happy.

Jeffrey's right. There's still a metric shitload of fun to be had this season, if you'll let yourself have it. And it's not necessary to stick your fingers in your ears and turn a blind eye to the unpleasant truths of the Saints' current situation either. Being in denial is not a requirement. I'm sure that there are some Saints fans out there who are in fact in denial, and hey, if that helps, then more power to ya. Be a fan however you damn well please, just don't be a douche about it. But for the rest of us, there's no rule that says you can't be fully aware of the current reality without resigning yourself to despair.

Since when did weekly Who concerts blowouts, 13-game winning streaks, leading the NFC wire-to-wire, and a complete absence of doubt become requirements to enjoy Saints football anyway? As jeffrey pointed out, as fun as last season's domination was, this season has already provided its fair share of drama, intrigue and whatnot. Isn't that why we watch? Isn't that what makes it so damn fun? We haven't been watching for 13-game winning streaks and yearly trips to the Super Bowl, that's for damn sure.

Or did 2009 change everything, and now we're just watching for the wins? Might as well just check the scores, and if the Saints won, maybe flip over to ESPN News and watch the highlights. Has it come to that? Tell me it hasn't come to that.

Look, do what you want. If you wanna spend the next three months pining over that girl you were dating this time last year and complaining to your boys that your current girlfriend isn't hot enough for ya, then that's on you. Have fun with all that. Just realize that it ain't her fault that you're frustrated and bored and pissed off. It's yours.

It's a choice.

Me? I'll be over here lovin' the one I'm with, thank you very much. She might not be the hottest girl I've ever dated either. But one of us has a smile on our face, and it ain't you.

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