How many of you out there are familiar with the film “Gangs of New York”? There was a scene were both gangs would stand across from one another face to face, ready to go to war. Those standoffs happen all the time during rivalry week. In 1999, I made it known to the world that I was a proud Dallas Cowboys fan. I’ve been riding with them since 1992 but in a Redskins house, I was quiet and I didn’t want to tell my father. I got the power to tell him days before the season opener; Dallas vs. Washington at the then Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.
September 12, 1999 was my coming out party. That week at school was hectic. Monday to Wednesday was like any other day before the football season starts. Predictions, trash talk, and fist fights. Yes, fist fights. The Cowboys-Redskins rivalry isn’t as intense as it was in the 70’s and 80’s. Yeah, tell that to the fans. The DC area is a Crockpot of Redskins and Cowboys fans stewing in the same water. The fist fights were not only in the high schools, it was in the streets, bars…pick a place. I’m getting off topic, back to my school. It was the first time in my life I was not only around Cowboys fan, but we also outnumbered the Skins fans. Trust me, if this ever happens to you, take full advantage of it.
After three days of babbling back and forth, on Thursday the colors, jerseys, hats, headbands, airbrushed t-shirts…it was wonderful, I kind of felt bad for the Steelers and Eagles fans at the school. That’s right, during rivalry week your team doesn’t matter! That day after school, I took the bus to the mall. While there I walked into Head2Head, the only shop in the area that sold Cowboys merchandise. With my McDonalds check I bought a custom made Cowboys headband with the number #8 and #22 on it. Then I brought my very first Cowboys jersey, Michael Irvin. That Friday morning I walked out the house with my Dad’s jaw on the ground. Me wearing all my Cowboys gear with pride. My Dad yells “My son is a (Bleeping) Cowboys fan?” Then when he saw the jersey he said “Anyone but Irvin!”
That day at school several times the fans had a standoff full of yelling, spitting, and cursing. Fights happen and friends didn’t talk. That Sunday me and my dad were cheering for our own team. Sadly, this was a bonding experience, and it was fun. With all of this, we get the drama of overtime. Troy Aikman saved the day by bombing a big one to Rocket Ismail. One of the biggest overtime wins for opening day was my first game a true blue Cowboys fan. I loved and followed the team since 1992 and I called myself a fan in secret. September 12, 1999; the second the game started my blood turned Blue and Silver and it has been that way since.
Forever a Cowboy! Let’s Go Cowboys!