We Live and We Learn

As you get older you start to understand the world a bit better. You learn that everything isn’t what it seems and money doesn’t grow on trees, you know, the average “it sucks to be a grownup” life lessons. In the last year I’d have to say I’ve learned more about being a real sports fanatic, I’ve opened my eyes and my ears and came to realize everything that glitters isn’t gold.

A few years ago it didn’t matter if the Cowboys were losing or if a player failed, in my eyes they could do no wrong and if anyone said anything critical I would immediately jump in and defend the team I love so much. No one was harder to defend more than Terrell Owens, but I did, and I didn’t back down either.

Now I’ve found myself criticizing them for their horrible plays and penalties and lack of discipline, hell I could go on and on but you all know the problems, how could you not?

Maybe this is the worst season I’ve witnessed as a mature adult so it seems more clear or maybe I’ve opened my mind to understand that unconditional love means that I love them through the good times and the bad. There is no question that these are the bad times. That doesn’t mean I have lost my loyalty to the Dallas Cowboys. Any sane person can see a team that is 1-6 is not a good team.

You want to argue that there is wasted talent on the team? Outside of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware, and a healthy Tony Romo, this team is mediocre at best. That’s my honest opinion and it really wasn’t that easy to admit. How many of the Cowboys do you expect to be elected to the Pro Bowl this year?

The heart breaker is that we came into the season with high hopes and expectations. When you really think about it, we didn’t change much in the offseason. Our biggest acquisition was Dez Bryant and he has completely lived up to everything we wanted him to be. He has a bright future with the Cowboys and we should look forward to celebrating wins and beyond with Dez. But it won’t be this year.

I will continue to watch the games and try to go into them with an open-mind and an open-heart. They might win a few of them.

I expect a big offseason with major changes everywhere. You know what happens then? You go into rebuilding mode. Things aren’t going to immediately be better just because we got a new coaching staff and a few new faces on the field. Everyone who is screaming, “Fire Wade!” you will get your wish, but it isn’t the cure-all answer. I hope you’re in for the long haul because I know I am.

Maybe it’s true in football as it is in life – once you hit rock-bottom there’s no way to go but up.

We won’t be celebrating 50 years in Dallas with a winning season or a trip to the playoffs, and we certainly won’t be the first team to play the Super Bowl in our own stadium. At least not this year. I am well aware that we still have nine games to go but there are too many problems that ail this team to realistically believe they still have a chance.

When you watch them play you can actually see them giving up. You can see the mood change on the field, especially after Tony Romo’s season abruptly ended a week ago.

So I guess I will get torched and people will say I’ve given up on my team. I haven’t given up on them, they gave up on themselves. Like I said I will always be a Cowboys fan, and I will continue to defend them but not without some criticism of my own. It’s almost as if I have been reborn as a fan and it hasn’t been easy. Going through life thinking everything is rainbows and butterflies, or Lombardi trophies and Super Bowl rings, is definitely so much easier.

Yes, I am a Cowboys fan for life and no matter the record they have my full support and loyalty. However, I’m not so naive anymore that I can preach to you how great they are when in reality there is nothing to brag about in 2010. We may see some bright spots here and there, and surely we will tack on some more wins but we are not contenders. Maybe once you realize what I have, it may be easier to watch a game and not bust holes in your walls.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sad about this season and all of the lost dreams. The Super Bowl is in Dallas, and believe it or not on my birthday. No one wanted this more than me! It was fate. But it’s not going to work out the way we dreamed it would.

Just another life lesson – life doesn’t always work out like we planned.