Do you believe in superstitions? Do you believe that what you say or do will make a difference? Can you lead your team to victory by sitting a certain way in your living room? Can you send messages to players just by talking to the television as you pace during the final minutes of a close game? I’m sure we have all gone through this at one time or another. Some truly believe it’s a ridiculous thing and others take it all very seriously. All I can say is that the mind is a very powerful thing and it can convince you of things even though you know deep inside that it’s not true.
Having just recently turned 42 (can not believe I just wrote that), I’m one of those people who is superstitious over many things when it comes to the Cowboys. It’s true that the little voice in my head is telling me that the things I do and say are stupid, but why can’t I stop? Why do I have to keep doing things every game that I believe is helping the team play better? When I was younger I believed that if I hung my Drew Pearson jersey up on game day (Pearson’s name needed to be seen of course) that the Cowboys would play better. My family would ask why not just wear his jersey for good luck and my answer would be because I can’t see his name. But at the same time I would wear my Danny White jersey because I thought it would help him play better. So why not hang the Danny White jersey up like I did with Pearson’s? If I turned my favorite Cowboys book to one particular picture of Tony Dorsett and left it open for the game I believed he would play well. I lost count how many times I would change the way I was sitting because the Cowboys were playing poorly. Then by changing positions something positive would happen and I could not move because I truly believed it was me changing positions that changed the way the Cowboys were playing. The mind sure is a powerful thing to make you think that way. Talking to the players, yelling at the players as I stared at the television almost as if I was coaching them and motivating them. Could they really hear what I was saying? Well, if those players ended up doing what I spoke to them about or picked their game up, then the answer would be yes in my mind.
As I got older I got a little better. Maybe not much, but a little better. Although my wife would not agree that I’ve gotten better. She believes I’m crazy with some of the things I do and believe in. There was one Dallas-Giants game not long ago that it just so happened that when the Cowboys were on defense I was standing to the left of my television and when they were on offense I was standing on the right side. I kind of picked up on this right after halftime. For the rest of the game I could not go away from that since they were playing well. Like I said earlier, I knew deep down it was stupid but I also could not stop because even if there was a tiny thought that I was making a difference that’s all I needed to know. One game a few years back I had eaten dinner while watching the game. The Cowboys were not doing that well. When I finished dinner I put the empty plate on the arm of my chair. Wow!!! The Cowboys actually started to take control and play better. By simply putting an empty dish on the arm of my chair? This was amazing to me. My wife came into the living room to take the dish. “DON’T TOUCH IT!!” “ARE YOU CRAZY?” I pointed at the television trying to convince her that it was the dish and only the dish that was responsible for the Cowboys playing better. I can still see the look she gave me as she walked away…without the dish of course.
Back in 2007 the Cowboys were losing to Detroit 27-14 going into the fourth quarter. For three quarters I sat watching them play a horrible game. The fourth quarter I paced around my living room between plays and then stood still for each play with one foot on the coffee table. Well, for those who remember that game Cowboys came back and won 28-27. Should everyone thank me for winning that game because of what I did in the fourth quarter? For those who believe that we have the power to control games, then I will say you’re welcome. To actually think that we can change the course of a game simply by standing or sitting is amazing, but at the same time it can get a little scary because we get so caught up in it.
If the Cowboys win and I am wearing a particular jersey (Romo, Barber, Emmitt and yes even Danny White) that week then you can be sure that the next game I will be wearing the same jersey. I will wear that jersey every week because I believe it has a spark to it and gave the Cowboys good luck. But as soon as the Cowboys lose I will then change jerseys because in my mind the spark has gone away and it can only mean bad things for the team. I also can not put on a jersey until right before kickoff because I believe it is bad luck.
I met my beautiful wife five days after the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXX. Now she is not a big football fan, but she loves that I’m so passionate about the Cowboys to the point that she had no problem with giving my son the middle name of Dallas when he was born. But…….since meeting her five days after Super Bowl XXX the Cowboys have not done so well. They are only 2-7 in the playoffs and have missed the playoffs seven times. Back in 2000 I decided to bring her to a Dallas-Giants game. What happened? Troy Aikman has his worse day as a pro throwing five interceptions. She has been instructed for several years not even to look at the game when it’s on. She did not watch any of the playoff game against the Seahawks back in 2006 until the ball was snapped to Romo and….Well, we all remember what happened after that.
My point is that the mind can control all of us at times. It can convince us of things that we know are not possible, but at the same time we continue to think that way. Even as I write these examples and read them I’m shaking my head. I think it’s funny, but only because the Cowboys are not playing. If the Cowboys were playing tomorrow I would be doing the same things I’ve always done. Sitting a certain way, wearing something that had energy, standing with one leg up on the coffee table, telling the players what they need to do and to get their heads in the game, making sure I adjust my hat three or four times during a commercial. Am I crazy? Do I need help? Some people think so. Some people yell at me saying that these players got to training camp, they practice every day, they lift weights, they study playbooks, they watch game film and do all the things they need to do to become better and to hopefully become a championship team. But yet I sit around thinking that I’m the one making the difference. That I’m the one doing what it takes to make the team better. Why can’t I stop myself even though I know better? Even though that little voice in my head keeps telling me that all these superstitions are ridiculous? In the end it’s all in my mind because…
The mind is a very powerful thing!