In the midst of the post lockout, free agency frenzy, Saints fans have undoubtedly been bracing themselves for the "Bush-Whack." As much as many of us (unrealistically) hoped Reggie Bush and the Saints would work out some sort of contract restructuring that would keep the running back with the team for a few more years, we all know this game far too well and we've been down this road far too many times not to have seen the writing on the wall. After all, most pundits had all but packed Reggie's bags and put him on the first thing smoking out of the Big Easy sometime back in March. And sadly, it now appears all the speculation is right on the money. Reggie's career as a Saint apparently ended with that pathetic playoff game in Seattle. Our golden boy is Miami bound.
I guess if he had to leave us, the Dolphins are among the least offensive of teams to go to. They aren't particularly obnoxious. We don't play them that often. And that he's going to a warm weather city known for its beaches bodes well for "special fans" like me who stay on the lookout for shirtless, man-candy pics of #25.
Still, Reggie is in so many ways tied to the rebirth of the New Orleans Saints and the rebirth of the city's spirit during one of its darkest eras. I remember where I was and how I felt when he was drafted. I remembered him giving me a reason to believe that football could at least help to heal the pain of a horrible past year that had revolved around collecting donated clothes for displaced family members, clearing out whatever precious memories I could salvage from my childhood home and mourning the loss of what I knew could never be again in my hometown, no matter how many "billions" had been pledged for post-Katrina rebuilding. Reggie was just one of those small yet much-needed symbols of hope that one day, everything would at least feel a little normal again.
His career with the team has seen its fair share of high and low lights. His personal life and Hollywood ups and downs with a reality TV starlet solidified that he would be just as entertaining off the field as on it. And even though he never quite lived up to his college hype as a Saint, he sure gave us fans our fair share of spine-tingling, "Did you see that", "We love you, Reggie" moments. He always kept us guessing. Would he run from sideline to sideline for a loss of 2 yards in the backfield or break for a 30 yard touchdown run? Would he fumble a punt return at a critical point in the game or break for a 90 yard run on a punt return for a touchdown to seal the win? I held my breath every single time he touched the ball because I truly never knew what would happen next.
So Reggie, just know there's no hard feelings on this end. Even when you fell short of the big play, I never doubted you were giving it your all. I could see the pain and passion in your face. Give 'em hell in the AFC. And if you happen to be walking along Ocean Drive and you sense that familiar feeling that some creep is watching your every move from afar, have no fear. It's just your, your #1 fan known by some as Nola Chick, hanging around like I've always been, letting you know you still own a piece of my heart, my thoughts, and my highly inappropriate fantasies.
Article cross-published at the female football fan website Chicks in the Huddle