You know, when you are a True Blue, Die Hard Cowboy Fan, most of the people around you just don’t seem to get it. Those folks may support their own team, or they may even be a nominal supporter of the Cowboys, but they think your love for the team is so fanatical that it borders on being some type of mental disorder.
I have been a Cowboy fan for 35 years. I picked the Boys as my team when I was around 5 years old. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about football at the time but something about the Cowboys grabbed my attention. This is made all the more interesting by the fact that no one in my family really cared about football. I got into watching the Cowboys, and being an only child, I got my way on Sundays and was able to turn the dial to the Cowboys game.
So, I really don’t know why I became a Cowboy fan here in my home state so far away. We didn’t have the Panthers then. The only way I can explain my love for the Cowboys is by good old Calvinistic theology. I think I was predestined to be a Cowboy fan. You know – many are called, but few are chosen. I guess I am blessed to be one of the elect. If you’re not one of the chosen, you just won’t get it.
It was so exciting to watch them play and win. It was devastating to see them lose. I can’t tell you how many times I cried over a Cowboy loss as a small child. My father would look at me, shake his head, and remind me that it was only a game, but to me it seemed like so much more than that.
Over the years, as the family watched one Dallas game after another, I began to notice my father getting into it more and more. He was pretty calm during Superbowl XII when we beat the Broncos. He was reserved during Superbowl XIII when we lost a close one to the Steelers. Me? I cried of course. But as the years went on, his interest in each game seemed to grow until in 1992, we watched Superbowl XXVII together. The Boys were awesome as they destroyed the Bills that day. The outcome was really never in doubt. I was tearing the house down in excitement. There were great moments during that game when I looked over at my dad and, I swear to you, I could see a tear or two gleaming in his eyes. I knew at that point – he gets it.
My dad saw the Cowboys repeat in 1993 as the Cowboys once again beat the Bills in Superbowl XXVIII. In May of 1994, he left us due to a heart attack. I still miss watching the games with him.
I think it was D.D. Lewis who first said that they left a hole in the roof of Texas Stadium so God could look down and watch His team play football. That statement by Lewis puts a thought in my head. I know you never met my dad but see if you can picture this scene with me…….
It’s a Sunday afternoon, and my dad’s up there in heaven looking down through that hole in Texas Stadium. He’s got a comfortable chair, he’s wearing a jersey with number 81 on it, and there’s a bowl of fresh buttered popcorn beside him. To the other side of the popcorn, there’s another person watching the game as well – but you can’t make out who it is just yet. The Cowboys are doing well this day and they just score another touchdown. A vaguely familiar voice says to my dad, “I’m glad we had our popcorn ready.” Dad smiles and turns his head toward the unknown man with the familiar voice. For the first time I catch a glimpse of Dad’s companion. He’s wearing a smartly tailored suit with a fedora on his head to top off the look.
As dad faces his friend he says, “You know Tom, I think they’re about to do it again.”
Now, if you’re not a die hard fan, you might think that’s a crazy idea I have. It’s ok if you don’t get it. It’s a Cowboy thing. Only the elect will understand. The Cowboy fans who are among the chosen, agree with D.D. Lewis – there is football in heaven, and the heavenly fans are all decked out in blue and silver – with one exception. There’s always that one guy watching the game in his smartly tailored suit and fedora. Most of the time he looks quite stoic, but every now and then, if you look close, you will see just the slightest grin….
Contributed by Richard Isaacs