Next, we have Brayden Hall or @BraydenHall7 on Twitter. Brayden is an 18-year-old college student who lives in Minford, Ohio and will be attending Shawnee State University very soon. Brayden, who’s been preaching for over a year now, loves the important things in life, such as God, his family and friends, and the New Orleans Saints. In that order.
Tyler: When did you first become a Saints fan?
Brayden: I first became a Saints fan sometime before the 2008 season began. I was new to following football (being only 10 at the time) and wanted to find a team. I had always been drawn to New Orleans’ unique culture, but a big deciding factor in where my loyalty would lie, oddly enough, was my age-unusual adoration of Louis Armstrong and his music. I was an anomaly I guess, a kid that young in 2008 who loved Louis Armstrong. And he was, of course, a New Orleanian.
Tyler: How has being a Saints fan impacted your life?
Brayden: The biggest impact is easily the experiences with other Saints fans, though most fans I know through Twitter. They are some genuinely good people, from what I’ve gathered, who I’ve met through a shared sports team, but have had the honor of learning about the world after talking with. They’ve opened my eyes to their worldviews, and agree with them on everything or not, it’s nice to learn about the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of people I otherwise would never get to meet. Most importantly, at least to me, was the unity and solidarity that came in mourning the senseless killing of Will Smith, my all-time favorite Saint. That was a tough blow for all Saints fans, but it was a much harder blow for us as compassionate humans, so it was nice seeing and being a part of the outpouring of support from the fans.
Tyler: What do you enjoy most about repping the New Orleans Saints, and its fanbase?
Brayden: The most enjoyable part is wearing one of my favorite jerseys after the team wins so that none of my friends doubt who won on Sunday. It’s become a running joke of sorts that they can tell if the Saints won or not just by looking at me. My Deuce McCallister and Michael Thomas jerseys are my favorites right now.
Tyler: What’s it like for you being a Saints fan?
Brayden: It’s interesting being a Saints fan in a place like Southern Ohio. It’s a strange blend for me, being an Ohio State fan and Saints fan. There aren’t a lot of other fans of the Saints here, so I’m on my own on game day. But it’s a lot of fun rooting for your own team (and easier than rooting for the in-state teams). While I’m a young fan, it’s also always been very interesting learning about the team’s history, both the good and the bad, even if the bad was a little more prevalent back then.
Tyler: Where were you when Hurricane Katrina happened?
Brayden: I was very young when it happened, I believe I was only 6, but I can remember even now seeing all the news reports about it. While I was in Ohio and never had to suffer through that tragedy like all those brave residents of New Orleans, I could see that real havoc was being inflicted during that storm. It’s a real testament to the city’s resiliency that by the time I became a Saints fan the residents were already fighting back so strongly.
Tyler: Where were you when the Saints won the Super Bowl?
Brayden: When the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, I was watching in my grandparents’ house with a lot of my extended family and a few family friends. We usually like to make the Super Bowl a family event. My aunt was the biggest Peyton Manning fan, and so a good bit of the family was rooting for Indianapolis. She really wanted him to win another ring and didn’t really know how big of a fan I was of the Saints by that point. Once the game began, everyone in the house knew. I didn’t know half as much as I do now about the game, but I do know how fantastic it was watching all the exciting plays. I remember how nervous I was after the onside kick, not knowing whether Sean Payton had given the game away or put the team right back in it. The best part though was, of course, Tracy Porters pick six. Even though I worry too much and was still a littke afraid Manning might still engineer a miracle, I could celebrate after that knowing the game was likely sealed. It was!
Tyler: Is there anything you want to tell The Who Dat Nation, and the world about being a fan of the New Orleans Saints?
Brayden: I want the Who Dat Nation to know that I appreciate the open arms welcome from you guys and that I can’t wait to watch this team return to the playoffs this year! And to the world, you’re all on notice. This is a resilient team and fan base. The team has really improved, and Drew Brees is still the quarterback. You’ve been warned. Don’t let that distract you, though, from the fact that the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl. Geaux Saints! Oh, and I think I can say this now that there are so many on the team: Go Buckeyes! WHO DAT!