This past week, I may have been insulted like I have never been insulted before, when the honesty behind my love and obsession for the Dallas Cowboys was called into question. A few days ago, a friend of mine made a happy post on Facebook, stating he had been accepted into The University of Texas. He was moving down from Nebraska, so I commented, congratulating him and joking that he would now be close enough to come over sometime and watch America’s Favorite football team in their own home state. My profile picture was also myself in a Tony Romo jersey.
A few hours later, I noticed some other comments, and a couple had nothing to do with my friend’s achievement. You guessed it, the comments were about the Dallas Cowboys. Seeing the delicious chance to debate football, which I am very good at and love doing, I dived right into it. In a “heated” debate against a Giants fan, I rebuffed myths about Romo the Choker, lessoned him on a guy named Dez Bryant, reintroduced Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware, and, feeling nice, gave him a warning of a danger to come named Bruce Carter. After having a great time embarrassing him and exposing his false, shallow education on football, he did the most appalling thing; he called out the truth in my fandom. This made me incredibly angry, and this why I am venting here today.
I am the most dedicated and knowledgeable Cowboys fan I even know. While most fans jumped on the Cowboys in the 90’s when they were good but had the heart to stick with the team even after they lost their magic, I never saw that. The thing is, I wasn’t around in the early 90’s. I was born in 1997, and am only 16 years old. I didn’t care a shred about football until I was 12. My dad was foreign, so he hadn’t had the chance to familiarize himself with football from a young age either, so sports wasn’t a big deal in my family. The only “sports” connection that existed was the fact that I loved running around, so playing basketball or soccer was appealing, but watching it was something I never even considered. To me, football was a few big guys running around and hitting each other with no purpose.
When I entered 7th grade, a few of my friends decided to join the football team. I loved athletic activities and thought it would be fun to do with friends, so I went ahead and told my parents I would join the football team. I quickly learned the game and enjoyed playing, but I still couldn’t care less about the NFL. I just liked football because running and catching was a great pastime. I was still under the curse where I couldn't sit in front of a television set for 3 hours to watch something I still didn’t even fully understand. Throughout 7th grade and that summer, I gradually became more interested in the professional aspect of the sport.
That winter, I watched my first football game. I was at a gathering, and the Cowboys-Saints game was going on. I was disinterested at the time, but in the sake of the atmosphere, I weakly cheered for Dallas. I remember them winning. Later, I truly watched a Cowboys game. It was in January, when the Cowboys were playing the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs. In the first Cowboys football game I really cared about, the Cowboys lost 34-3. Not the die hard fan yet, I was a tad disappointed, but not really affected.
Out of nowhere, I found myself waiting for the football season to start. I began to read all about football, familiarize myself with tons and tons of names, how each team was doing, and in so, I finally fell in love with the Cowboys. I was pretty excited for football season and when it finally rolled around, I made a commitment to be a Cowboys fan in the first season and see how things went.
Well, it did not go good. In 2010, the Cowboys started off woefully. Not only did they go 0-2 in the first two weeks, but they only won a single game after that before Jason Garrett became the interim head coach and Tony Romo was done for the season. I was fairly frustrated then, but for some reason I stuck with the team. I was a Dez Bryant supporter from the start and waited through the summer of 2011 for the next season to start. My fandom all the while, increased.
In 2011, the Cowboys lost a 14 point 4th quarter lead in week 1. Week 2 was an exciting OT showdown against the Niners, but even after that, the Cowboys underachieved and went 8-8. The following summer, I couldn’t help myself become into becoming the most obsessed fan I even knew. I was constantly reading every newsline about the Cowboys I could get. I knew the roster up and down. It was like I had been a diehard fan for 3 decades! I grew very excited for the 2012 season with Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, and lots of other talent in the fold. I was ready to truly watch my first Cowboys postseason game that year. However, that dream was shattered as well very recently, when the Cowboys lost to the Rival Redskins in week 17. But I am as unshaken as ever. My love for the Cowboys still grows and will continue to do so until the day I die.
The moral of this story is that at 16 and still pretty young in the world of football, I have never enjoyed a successful Cowboys team. Never seen them in the playoffs as a fan. Never seen consistency. Never seen a winning season. I never know what to expect, and I am now prepared to be frustrated every week with this team.
But my fandom is unwavering. There is no sports franchise I love more. Cowboys Nation, aside from my real family, is the best I can think of. The fans are united in their support of the greatest, most exciting, and favorite football team in the world. I simply blow my top off whenever anyone insults me or my brethren. We are fans that have endured for a long time with no success. But Dallas still has the most fans in the NFL does it not? In Game 6 of the NBA Finals, with the Miami Heat, the best team in the NBA losing by ten in the fourth quarter, their fans left. Miami, just coming off a championship season can’t keep their “fans” in the arena when it looks like they will lose. But Dallas? 16 years and nothing to count for it, but the ones who bleed blue and silver haven’t abandoned the star. We all know one day Dallas will rise through the ranks again.
Until then, I dare anyone to challenge my fandom. I am as true and pure to the Cowboys as I can get. I have never seen them do anything except fail. To call me a bandwagoner, or anything that criticizes my loyalty to the Cowboys is a joke. I reiterate, that anyone who would dare to call me or my Cowboys fans anything except the purest, most dedicated, diehard sports fans on the planet is insane. There are no fans, nowhere in this universe as bold and proud as Cowboys Nation. No matter what anyone says, I joined this team when they hit a brick wall. But like all my fellow fans, I will never love a team more than I love the Dallas Cowboys.
Even when they lose.