I think it’s finally starting to hit me. I’ve been struggling to switch out of training camp/preseason mode and move on to regular season mode. I tried to kick-start it with a post about the New York Giants last night, but it didn’t take. Or maybe it did, it just took a little while to kick-in. Whatever the case, I’m finally starting to get that feeling, that little tingle in the brain that says – it’s almost here. Soon, it will mean something.
January 6th, 2007: Tony Romo fumbles a snap on a chip shot FG, picks it up and makes for the end zone. Martin Gramatica whiffs on the block of Jordan Babineaux and Romo is tripped mere feet from the first down. A moment in time that simultaneously passed in the blink of the eye and played out in agonizing slow-motion. Did Romo just drop that snap? Did he just pick it up, and is he about to score? Where did Babineaux come from? Did this really happen, did we just lose a playoff game to the Seattle Seahawks 21-20?
That’s how long I’ve been waiting for this Sunday to arrive. January 6th, 2007. Look how far we’ve come. As Dallas die-hards, we rarely discuss the bobble anymore; it almost never enters the conversation until someone on the outside brings it up. We joke about it every once in a while, but that moment now seems worlds away. When you’ve been following every move the Cowboys have made since that January game, that moment that still stands out as the last thing outsiders remember doesn’t even exist to us. Not when you’ve waited out the Tuna Watch, sweated the days as Dallas decided on a new coach, treated free agency and the draft like a 2nd and 3rd Christmas, searched endlessly for a morsel of news about OTA’s, studied training camp so intensely that 7-on-7 became part of your everyday lexicon; only then could the Romo bobble seem like it happened an eon ago.
Still, all of that was mere distraction. Don’t get me wrong, it mattered more than oxygen at the time it was happening. It’s also the components that build a team. The draft, free agency, training camps; these are the foundations that football franchises stand upon. In the end though, they are mere prologue, they are the coming attractions. The regular season is the main event.
Now that moment stands just a few calendar days away. And I’m finally starting to get it. I’m starting to get that feeling that this is real. Terry Glenn returning to a full practice means something. You can’t just say that if he didn’t go this week he’ll go the next. The next week is now a real game. One that counts in the standings, against an NFC East rival, a game at home that you need to win. It means something when Kevin Burnett is testing his injury tomorrow at practice because it’s the difference between playing in a real game and just missing some training camp practices. I know you know this - I know this - intellectually at least. But emotionally, it’s just starting to hit me. The anticipation is beginning to build, that feeling you get when you start thinking about the opponent and watching the game on TV; watching the Cowboys in a game that will affect your mood for all of the following week. That’s the kind if emotional investment we have in the Dallas Cowboys.
On the outside, if someone read this post, they’d think that the guy writing it needs to get a grip on reality, but you readers know what I’m talking about. We don’t hide our mania for the NFL and the Cowboys; we parade it in front of the world for the entire Internet to see. Maybe you started getting the feeling earlier in the week, or maybe it hasn’t hit you yet. Me? Like I said, I’m just starting to feel it. Just getting next to the idea that it’s back, that it means something again, someone is keeping the record.
I just don’t know any other way to say it - I frickin’ love the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys.