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By: Jay Williams
I have been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys for so long, I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a fan of the team. I asked my Dad one time when I started following the Cowboys, and he wasn’t sure.
“Maybe when you were about five,” he guessed.
That sounds about right. Many of my elementary school photos share a common theme…Jay wearing a Roger Staubach #12 jersey, Jay wearing a Cowboys jacket, Jay wearing another Roger Staubach #12 jersey the next year. It made Christmas shopping for my Mom and Dad a pretty easy gig.
The point is I have a long-term relationship with this team. It is not an entirely healthy relationship. I was the kid who cried when the Cowboys lost. I finally stopped doing that when I reached my late 30s. It seemed counterproductive.
Yelling at my television during Cowboys games is also counterproductive, but I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. I’m a reasonably intelligent, educated man. I fully understand that acting like a fool in my living room is not going to change the outcome of a football game. But old habits die hard.
My best friend is also a Cowboys fan. He was born in Wichita. Geography suggests that he should have been a Kansas City Chiefs fan. But “America’s Team” grabbed hold of him as a kid just like it did me.
He yells at his television during Cowboys games, too. We often call each other during the games so we can yell at our respective televisions together. Family pets won’t stay in the room when we watch the Cowboys play. My friend’s wife will call during games, worried about the always-delicate relationship between our team’s performance and my friend’s blood pressure.
“Jay, what are the Cowboys doing? Rob is upstairs yelling, and it’s getting worse. ”
None of this makes any sense. But we are powerless. After all, the “fan” in sports fan does come from the word “fanatic.”
I can’t tell you how many times throughout the years one of us has said, “That’s it. I’m out. I cannot…I will not…do this to myself any longer.”
Then a few months later, as training camp is getting ready to begin, we turn in to Michael Corleone. “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in!”
The past 25 years have been tough on Cowboys fans. A quarter century without a Super Bowl. An owner who stubbornly holds on to the general manager job himself, trying to recapture the glory from the first seven years after he bought the team.
But at least I got to see those three Super Bowl championships in 1992, 1993, and 1995. My 17-year-old son has known nothing but Cowboys-induced heartbreak his entire life. He lives and dies with them, just like his old man. His twin brother could not care less about football. His Sunday afternoons in the fall are quite a bit more peaceful than ours.
But hope springs eternal for me, my best friend, and my football-loving son. Earlier this week, the Cowboys finally signed quarterback Dak Prescott to a new contract. Reportedly it is for four years, $160 million dollars. $126 million of that is guaranteed. He gets $75 million the first year.
I made up my mind a long time ago that you can either accept the finances that have developed in professional sports…or you can stop watching. I won’t stop watching.
Yeah, the money is crazy. But we are an entertainment-driven society. And I have 45 years invested in my team. I’m a Dak Prescott guy. He’s back. And the Dallas Cowboys just pulled me back in…again.
You can reach Jay Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.