Monday, 28 July 2014 10:08
New Orleans Saints evade sexy Mayflies enroute to Super Bowl
Written by 

saints-runTwo stories in the newspaper this week guaranteed to me that NFL training camps are under way. The first, of course, is the only story that New Orleans football fanatics are talking about, that the Saints descended upon the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia to begin another positively certain Super Bowl quest. The second story meant the same thing in my own peculiar linkage of thoughts when swarms of mayflies descended on the Midwest in their annual suicide mating rituals! 


Now understand that your pedestrian NFL observer will not likely link a team’s Super Bowl chances with the mating rituals of a bug, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, the fact that little local uproar greeted the news that the Saints were again taking training camp out of the state reflects the modern “can do no wrong” attitude of Who Dats toward their team. It wasn’t always that way, including the year we took the team out of stifling heat, humidity and afternoon thunderstorms to bucolic La Crosse, Wisconsin, in the late 1980s. 

The politicos in Baton Rouge were incensed that owner Tom Benson was enjoying state benefits through improvements at the Superdome, and the local fandom was up in arms that nearby Hammond wasn’t good enough for the new regime headed by GM Jim Finks. Fans did not realize that no matter what the good folks of Hammond and Southeastern Louisiana University tried to do, their facility still sat in the middle of a boiling crawfish pot. Our first year, in 1986, head trainer Dean Kleinschmidt counted more than 130 liters of IV fluids that had to be hot-wired into the veins of withering players. Each IV meant the next practice day was lost. 

The Saints tried Hammond again the following year, but July 1987 turned out to the one of those monsoon summers where the rains came early and often. To find a suitable – aka “dry” – indoor practice facility meant numerous hour-long bus rides to the LSU indoor facility or the Superdome, when it wasn’t hosting tractor pulls or Motocross events. Finks and Coach Jim Mora began looking for a better way. 

When the move to La Crosse became a reality, the local wipe was so incensed that it even used a rare Midwest heat wave to show how ill-advised that decision was. We arrived in La Crosse to temperatures in the high 90’s that sometimes topped the 100 mark. Even without the humidity of the lower Mississippi River, the heat on the northern end of that ripple was uncomfortable. So during first week of camp, the Times-Pickonyou ran a page 1 weather boxscore that frequently read: “La Crosse 98, New Orleans 94.” But after we were settled and the heat dissipated, the mayflies came. 

Any New Orleans resident who has endured the swarms of Formosan termites around the first of May can get only an inkling of what we experienced. Unlike the small flying termites, a normal mayfly is the size of a dragon fly, while the bull mayfly is as big as a pigeon. Well, not really, but it seemed that way when a swarm can blot out every street light in town. Unlike the Formosan termites, which orient themselves to the light of the moon, mayflies flock to NFL training camps near streetlights and lamps. The recent story said that last week, swirls of green, yellow and blue splashed across radar screens at the National Weather Service in La Crosse like a rainstorm on an otherwise clear night. 

I remember rising early from my University of Wisconsin La Crosse dorm bed for a 6 a.m. run and crunching my way through the streets and swarms of dead mayflies stacked around light poles. Wow, I thought those mayfly mating rituals must be dandies to leave all this carnage behind! I half-expected the dead mayfly carcasses to return to life and become a horror movie, but the annual siege is not so funny for those who still put up with it. News reports blamed at least one traffic accident on the infestation although there was no word on how many people were missing. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. 

I’m not sure if West Virginia has anything to equal the mayfly. Mosquitoes don't have the cache or the sexual drive, from what I hear. But as long as training camp achieves its purpose, Who Dat Nation can be content with another Super Bowl and continue to endure its May Day ritual of hosting the Formosan termites.

Login to post comments
  • A July 4th Fact of Facts: America is Land of Immigrants
  • Poll: Trump strong on jobs, weak on tweets, viewed as reckless, thin-skinned, sexist
  • President Trump, It doesn't feel like Independence Day
  • YIPPIE! The naked truth about free speech, cherished especially on Independence Day

mass2On July 4, 1778, George Washington doubled liquor rations for the soldiers quartered in Princeton, NJ, as a way to celebrate Independence Day. It’s fitting, therefore, that the Fourth of July is America's top-selling beer holiday, according to the Beer Institute. It estimated, in 2013, that sales of beer on the 4th could total $1 billion, doubtlessly higher today. “In moderation,” claims a CA brewery investor, Grover McKean, “beer is tasty and healthy.” Who could disagree?

Read More

joe mikaAs Donald Trump faces the top world leaders this week, including a face-time with Vladimir Putin, and as his healthcare proposals face an uphill climb, his poll numbers for how the nation views him could be better.

According to a morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday morning, his tweets, including that against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, and his personality are not helping him, at all.

Read More

indy dayII know the calendar says we are approaching the 4th of July, but, it just doesn’t feel like Independence Day.

Perhaps it should.  It’s hot as heck.  The airlines have been packed. The hot dogs are ready for grilling.  The umps are saying, "play ball". The patriotic activities are scheduled. The fireworks are ready-for-blasting. 

Yet, it just doesn’t feel like independence day.

Read More

bill rights2To President Thomas Jefferson, July 4th celebrated more than the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He thought it was a link to the future. The message prominent colonists sent to King George III led to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the initial and most prominent feature of which is the First Amendment that guarantees free speech. It’s part of the country’s fundamental essence that each man and woman can say what they feel about government, or anything else, proving President Donald Trump needs some civics lessons.

Read More


Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1