Join us around the campfire.
We often equate on field brilliance with off the field heroism. It's one of my pet peeves that fans often deify a player based on athletic prowess and then are disappointed in a player they know nothing about personally when said player doesn't follow the script the fan has written in his head. Everyone is supposed to have the same upbringing and development as a human being, and if not, everything is supposed to be "corrected" by the fact that they have an opportunity to play a child's game for obscene amounts of money.
Even when faced with the reality of the circumstances stated above, fans still tend to revert to the expectations that come from worshipping sports stars as heroes growing up. Sometimes players just aren't nice guys. Sometimes, they are jerks. It doesn't mean they were any less worthy of your adulation for what they did on the field.
On the flip side, there are plenty of players that are great guys away from the sport. The ones that take the extra time out of their day to thank fans for their support. The ones that involve themselves in community projects and charitable events. The ones that you'd just like to sit back and have a drink with. Many times, you'll see combinations of both sides of the equation. Sports stars are just as complex as people you meet in everyday life.
Players come in all shapes, sizes and ways, as you'll see in the below sampling and hopefully in the comments section as well. I took to our Facebook page (Like Us Today!) to see who had encountered Cowboys players at one time or another in their lives and the stories recanted were interesting to say the least. Here are a few examples.
Robert Bone 1992, my grandfather, great uncle and I ended up in Jerruhs suite hanging out with Jimmy and Wanstadt, we were throwing back coronas( jimmys favorite beer), i was completely awestruck. you coukd teok there was sonething about the chemistry, that the yeam was team was destined for greatness that year, pretty sure this was the thanksgiving game. Jimmy was feeling it that night, Jerry wasnt in the room. My grandpa was a season ticket holder fron the late 70's, probably the happiest ive ever seen him that night(god rest his soul)...rubbing elbows with Jimmy Johnson
John Rathsam Yeah! I met Emmitt Smith on the golf course for charity!
Hole #1 a 7 year old was asking for his autograph, after hole 3 Emmitt looked annoyed and told the 7 year old I am playing golf, I will sign for you after I finish golfing!
It then started to drizzle, his 7 year old followed Emmitt ALL 18 holes soaking wet by hole 18.
As Emmitt finished up hole 18, he was walking off, the 7 year old he PROMISD he would sign for and who followed him for over 2 hours getting wet and everything, walked right up to him and emmitt turned and said SORRY KID, I don't sign, buy a ticket inside if you want my autograph! Since that day, I HATE EMMITT with a passion and heard plenty of other stories when the "camera" isn't on!
Starlen Roddy I had the chance to meet several former Cowboys in the early 2000s while working at a sports bar in the Hilton. Tony Dorsett- he was drunk as all outdoors but was good guy. Jimmy Johnson- truly is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Took him room service..tips very well and did not have a problem giving me an autograph. Herschel Walker- laid back and looked like he could break a tank in half with his pinky lol
Mary Arcidiacono Lofaro Spent a weekend in Dallas with my kids to watch a Cowboys game. The day before the game, we went on a stadium tour. There, Eugene Lockhart was signing autographs with his son by his side. My daughter was about the same age as his son, and they spent some time talking to each other. The next day, Eugene showed up at a Tailgate party we were attending, and he remembered my daughter. He pulled out his cell phone and called his son and then handed the phone to my daughter and told her, "here talk to my son"! She talked to him for a while!! Eugene was a sweet, down-to-earth guy! It's ashame he got caught up in that mortgage fraud scandal!
Don Corbett Too many to mention. Back in the day when NFL players had to have second and third jobs, Cowboys lived all around me, I hung out with their kids, I spent a lot of days at their practice field and many of the players even spent time playing with us in the front yard teaching us pass patterns. Heck, Lilly and Andre even coached my YMCA football team. Other than Lilly and Andre, other players I spent time with were Jordan, Howley, Renfro, Lewis, Reeves Garrison, Rentzel, Morton, Ditka, Niland, Liscio, Manders, and Widby. Even today, I still drink coffee a couple times a week with the lone remaining original member of the 1960 Cowboys staff - Trainer Clint Houy - As you can imagine, he is full of great stories. (among his best friends were wild and crazy Meredith and Mickey Mantle)
John Rathsam I did meet Michael Irvin plenty of times! Hung out in his hotel room with Him, Emmitt, and Mark Tuinei back in the day! I remember Irvin telling us a story about court!
This was when he was in court for the cocaine and hookers I believe! He said he didnt' tell any player to come to court with him! Howevever he did ask his best friend Emmitt Smith to be the only one to show up for support!
come court date, Emmitt is nowhere to be found! Mike calls him after and says where were you buddy?
Emmitt's reply? My PR guy told me it wouldn't be good for my image!
Well, when Mike went to court, Emmitt who he asked to be there was NOT THERE, yet when he turned to look for him he saw TROY AIKMAN sititng there supporting him when he never even asked Troy!
He said he will never be friends with Emmitt since that day and always respect Troy!
They are all nice on TV when camera's are around, but since that day Irvin can't stand Emmitt! That's from the horses mouth!
Yet ANOTHER story on why Emmitt isn't the same guy he acts like when camera's are on him and his true colors makes me DESPISE him as a person! Greatest Cowboys rusher EVER, but as a person, can't stand him!
Mark Douglas While in college in Washington D.C. I dated a young lady who attended Mount Vernon College. She invited me to her home in Irving, TX for spring break. She told me her mother was dating a football player but imagine my surprise when I was at her home and Drew Pearson walked into the family room. He was very cool and we actually played a couple of games of basketball in the driveway. This was either 1988 or 89.
Michelle Fichera I met Troy Aikman at spring training when they still practiced in San Antonio - I think I was 8. I have a picture with him, and his autograph.
What kind of stories do you have to tell about Cowboys, past or present that you've had the chance to come across? Put some marshmallows on a tree branch and share your tales with us.
More Sunday Reading:
- On The Chalkboard: The Pistol Formation Isn't Just For Cowboys Opponents
- Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Morris Claiborne vs. Dez Bryant
- Cowboys Offseason Headscratcher: What To Do With All Those Tight Ends
- Dallas Cowboys' Tyrone Crawford Is A Work In Progress
- Cowboys Roster: Rise Of The Draftees And UDFAs