Selling of a dream|Local fan has to part with her Super Bowl tickets

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 5, 2010

When Saints season ticket holder Shirley Waring decided to sell her Super Bowl tickets, she was impeached by her fellow Saints fans on her Facebook page.

How could you, they all asked? But she’s got a good reason.

The Vicksburg resident is selling her tickets because she can’t make the trip to South Florida to watch her beloved New Orleans Saints play the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday.

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The thought of giving up a lifelong dream doesn’t sit well with the Vicksburg native and former New Orleans resident. But with her busy work schedule, the developer found it impossible to take a week off for the biggest game of them all.

“It’s horrible,” Waring said. “I want to go in the worst way. This is something I’ve waited a lifetime to see them in the position that they are in. It’s tough, but on the other hand, I’m so involved to watch the game (on TV) and study the plays, watch the statistics and listen to the analysis.”

It was a windfall that Waring almost didn’t pick up.

Waring, a season ticket holder for more than 20 years, entered the lottery for the right to purchase her two tickets, which are on sale on eBay. Her status as one of the more loyal season ticket holders increased her odds in the lottery conducted by the Saints ticket office.

The face value of the pair is $800 apiece, but Waring expected to get a lot more for them. She’s had several strong inquiries in town for the pair of tickets.

As for receiving the tickets, one would think an armored car, a battalion of former Special Forces soldiers and a trumpet fanfare would proceed the arrival of Super Bowl tickets.

Not so much.

On Jan. 28, Waring received an e-mail notifying her that she had won the ticket lottery. The instructions were simple: the buyer had to bring identification and a cashier’s check to purchase the tickets. She faxed a letter of authorization with identification to the Saints and a friend drove to New Orleans the first day they were available to pick them up.

The biggest thing for Waring besides the ticket was a gold doubloon issued by Saints owner Tom Benson to season-ticket holders with the Superdome on one side and Benson’s face on the other.

Despite a near snafu involving the name the tickets were reserved under — Shirley Beckham, her maiden name — she had her tickets later that night.

Waring has been through plenty in years of three-hour Sunday drives to the Big Easy. She witnessed the losing era of Archie Manning, the winning one of Jim Mora and the Dome Patrol, the lost years after Mora and finally, the Sean Payton era of explosive offenses and winning seasons.

The constant slogans, both official and unofficial, and the threat of the team leaving the Big Easy are two things that stick out in Waring’s mind.

“I think about all of the slogans I’ve been through,” Waring said. “‘The Aints,’ then they got a little better and it was ‘I Believe.’ ‘I Still Believe,’ ‘Have Faith,’ ‘Cha-Ching.’ When (owner Tom) Benson wanted a new dome or he was threatening to move the team, I can’t imagine that could have ever happened. I think that’s history. The Saints belong to New Orleans.”

Even though she’ll spend Sunday commuting between several Super Bowl parties in town, win or lose Waring believes the effects of just making it to the big game will be felt by Saints fans and the Crescent City as a whole for years to come.

“The way this thing has just evolved is tremendous,” Waring said. “When they come back, they’ll have a great Tuesday whether they win or lose. The city is just wrapped around this experience. They’ve just waited so long. We’ve suffered, been embarrassed, been humiliated. I always felt in my heart, eventually, they’d make it.”

Contact Steve Wilson at