My Heroes Have (Not) Always Been Cowboys

As I am fairly new to BTB, I thought for my first post I would give the long-time readers a small glimpse into what makes me tick and how I became a loyal and devoted follower of the Royal Blue and Silver. Please show mercy on this poor rookie and be kind with your comments.

When I was six years old, I was sitting on the edge of my bed holding a copy of the Football Digest. I was crying. On the cover of the tiny magazine was a picture of Roger Staubach, arm cocked, eyes downfield. In the foreground of the photo, you could see the backs of two Miami defenders, Nick Bouniconti and Manny Fernandez, trying to get to Staubach before he released the ball. They didn't. Roger and the Cowboys had beaten my Miami Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI. The fact that I can still see that photo emblazoned on my brain after 40 years, should tell you how devastated I was.

I hated Roger Staubach. I hated Tom Landry. I hated the Dallas Cowboys. It is the earliest I can remember having such strong emotions--good or bad--about anything. That is what the Dallas Cowboys do to people. They evoke emotions--good or bad.

Eight years later, on March 31, 1980, I sat on the edge of my bed, crying. I was fourteen now. And I was crying about Roger Staubach once again. I had just watched the press conference when Roger announced his retirement. Somewhere between wide-eyed boy and post-pubescent youth, my loyalties had changed. I still harbored a reverance for the Miami Dolphins. I do to this day. After all, you never quite get over your first love. But my tastes had evolved.

I can't remember the exact moment the transformation occurred. It may not have been a specific, Big Bang-type of event, but a gradual shift that happened over time. In any case, the change, at some point, had taken place and I was a full-fledged Star Head.

And Roger Staubach was my hero. He still is.

It's safe to say that Staubach is the only individual I've ever felt compelled to label as a hero of mine. I have the utmost, undying respect for our men and women in the military, police officers, firefighters and anyone who risks their lives to keep us safe. They are my heroes as well. But Staubach is the singular person to whom I can put a name. He is a man of courage, leadership, honor and deepest faith. And he is probably the only Dallas Cowboy that even the haters can find no fault with.

After Staubach rode off into the sunset, I continued to follow my 'Boys closely. I cringed through the difficult 80's. I cheered raucously through the rebirth in the 90's. And every season since. Good times, bad times--it didn't matter. In fact, it still doesn't matter. They're my team and always will be. The joy the Cowboys have brought me is immeasurable. Maybe that's the legacy of a hero. I wouldn't have been a Dallas Cowboy fan if not for Roger Staubach. He may not be on the field any longer, but his image keeps the boy in me glued to that TV every Sunday in the fall.

I can't help but wonder if one of the 253 young men selected in the draft last month will have the same impact on some boy's life the way Roger Staubach impacted mine? God, I hope so. Every boy needs a hero...

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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