For decades now, it has become a tradition for families nationwide to load up on snacks, sodas and beer and hunker down for the annual, highly anticipated Super Bowl. Whether or not one’s favorite team is playing, for a good number of people it is pretty exciting to watch the preferred choice battle for the ball and, they hope score the winning touchdown. For the most part, however, I am not one of these people.

When I was younger, I used to enjoy the coming together of family and friends to hoot and holler over plays and touchdowns. But I was never truly interested in the game as much as the celebration. In fact, I can’t recall any of the teams who played in any of the Super Bowls of my formative years.

As I grew up into adulthood, watching the Super Bowl, or any pro football game for that matter, simply wasn’t on my radar. To me, it has always been just another day, and if I had any inclination to turn to that channel, it was only to watch the costly commercials that aired between timeouts and referee calls.

While I have recently developed an affinity for the Dallas Cowboys for personal reasons, this year’s Super Bowl had something to it that previous ones did not: an all-encompassing feeling of hope. It may sound a little cliché, but the fact that the New Orleans Saints — the underdogs who had never made it to the Super Bowl, whose city was underwater and destroyed just five years ago — had been so successful and were on the brink of winning the coveted title of Super Bowl champions translated into much more than just the Vince Lombardi trophy.

The buildup and anticipation of this game wasn’t just about sports; it was about our own crippled economy and personal struggles. It was about believing in something we had once worried had no chance of recovery but had made it to the verge of being the pride of the country.

Although the game started off a little slow with the Saints trailing the Colts, in the second half of the game, the Saints were fired up and determined to win the game as thousands of people crowded the streets of their home town, and millions cheered them on across the country. With some risky plays and an amazing interception by the Saints that put them markedly ahead with only five minutes left to go, a sense of pride and accomplishment grabbed hold.

As we plow ahead into 2010 with war wounds of fiscal failures and indescribably hard times, we should be inspired to turn our dismal outlooks into positive forecasts. The Saints’ victory represents a victory for all of us, that no matter how tough times have been or will be, there will always be a chance that we will make it to our own personal Super Bowls and take pride in donning our championship rings.