The Star is a Target

There is a certain passage in the novel True Grit, and as I was reading it my mind made a pleasant jump to the heroes of my sporting dreams, The Cowboys.

I love both movie versions of True Grit and just recently bought the book when I had about 42 seconds to choose something at a JFK airport bookstore. The narrator says at one point (I'm paraphrasing as I can't access the book now to quote it directly) that someone who is a prisoner is much more watchful, resourceful, and persistent than the person who is guarding him. He will focus much more of his energy and attention to his escape than his captor will, who is in a more passive role of reaction to the other's initiative.

Many Cowboys fans have noted that opponents (and especially our division rivals) seem to bring a special intensity of preparation and effort against our team. This will always be a factor the Cowboys must counter. If it's true that there are no easy games for any team, it must be even more so for the Cowboys who because of their high profile will always face a team determined to nail their hides to the wall.

This line of thought leads me to consider Coach Garrett's emphasis on having the Right Kind of Guys on the team. For a long time as player and coach he has experienced first-hand the extreme effort that even middling teams bring. He doesn't underestimate the task of coaches and players to approach and play every game with an intensity similar to a playoff game. That heightened state of mental and physical toughness is forged on the practice field, every day, and it has to start within the hearts of the players themselves.

In the recent insightful and highly entertaining post by 5Blings he asserted in the comment thread that even the best guards weren't impact players. When he brought up the name of Jerry Kramer immediately in my mind I was back in North Carolina watching with my Dad as Kramer's block at the goal line

enabled the Packers to score and win the 1967 Ice Bowl. On the play that got his team to the Super Bowl he led the way. (And he taught this 11-year-old that I didn't have to actually be in a game to get hurt on a play. That block put a nasty bruise on my kid heart.)

In the Draft I want the talent belonging to players who by their self-motivation become examples and even leaders at a critical moment. Who refuse to be out-hustled. Guys like Drew Pearson, Staubach, Bill Bates, Emmitt, Michael Irvin, Romo, Ware, and Lee to name just a few made the necessary sacrifices, before and after joining the team, to reach their full potential. To cite a couple of quotes: You play like you practice; The best aren't the best on talent alone. To which I might add: Always play up to your potential, because then your potential continues to rise. And that I think is what is meant by "the process."

The star will always be a high-value target for outlaws and Eagles, bad guys and Buccaneers.

P.S. I can't sign off without saying that the above is basically a fan letter to Dave, the front page writers, and all who contribute your knowledge, wisdom, humor (especially when it isn't funny and I laugh anyway.) Talk about RKGs.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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