The Dallas Cowboys held their annual Happy Hill Farm Kickoff Luncheon the day before the last chance for floundering players to make the team, also known as the final pre-season game with the Miami Dolphins. Some awards were handed out, some speeches were made - and maybe it's just me, but it kind of looks like some blue Kool Aid was being served.
Now before I get into that, a brief explanation of why the Cowboys are involved with something called Happy Hill Farm Academy. This is a private boarding school, designed to prep kids for college life. What is different from most prep schools is that the students there are primarily underprivileged kids from troubled homes, many of whom are no longer safe in those homes. The Academy provides scholarships to pay the way for most of the students there. These are young people who have potential and talent, but who would likely never have a chance to realize that potential without the help of this school. The Cowboys support this school by helping raise money with the Kickoff Luncheon.
Maybe it is just me, but it seems there is a lot more history of Jerry Jones and his organization helping talented but troubled people than we may have realized.
Anyway, there were some awards given out (one of which was already covered by OCC) and some speeches made. I have a strong tendency to see the world through blue and silver colored glasses. So some of the things that were said at the Luncheon are getting me a little bit excited.
Details (Tweets, mostly) after the jump.
In addition to the Ed Block Courage Award Romo picked up, the team gave out an award recognizing one of the past stars.
John Niland named the Tom Landry Legend Award winner— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 28, 2012
I love that selection. For those of you with less gray hair than I have, let me give you a few numbers. Left Offensive Guard who played for the Cowboys from 1966 until 1974. Six Pro Bowls. Played on the first Super Bowl winning team for the Cowboys. Three time All Pro selection. Missed two games in nine years.
I remember him well. That, my friends, was a man in full. Oh, also according to the Wikipedia article I got those facts from (and they usually have good stuff on the Cowboys), he was also nicknamed Johnny Nightlife. A well-rounded individual.
Also, the team announced who had been selected as the MVPs for 2011.
Offensive MVP - Tony Romo. Defensive MVP - DeMarcus Ware. Special teams MVP - Dan Bailey.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 28, 2012
You must have been able to cut the suspense with a knife waiting for those names, right? Anyway, after those were announced (by, I believe, a man calling himself Captain Obvious), Tony and DWare made some comments. And it was some of the things they said that made me feel a wee bit excited.
Ware commented on what he learned from a visit to the Navy SEAL training center while the team was in California.
Ware's acceptance speech: said navy seal taught him there is an I in team. 'If I don't do my job, the team suffers. I'm going to do my job.'— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) August 28, 2012
I like that a lot. But I like something else he said even better.
How ready is DeMarcus Ware for NYG? His acceptance speech for def MVP - I'm up here shaking right now because I'm ready to play the Giants— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 28, 2012
Is it just me that reads like that and feels like jumping up on a table and screaming "UNLEASH THE KRAKEN!"? Oh. I was afraid of that.
Anyway, Tony Romo also had some things to say. He was not quite quivering with anticipation like Ware, but he did have some good points to make.
Romo in acceptance said this cowboys team committed to working hard, gaining respect of each other like no other he's been around.— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) August 28, 2012
— Brandon George (@dmn_george) August 28, 2012
#Cowboys QB Tony Romo said this is the most excited he's ever been about a team before the season. Says it's most committed team he's seen.
Romo said the cowboys are building something special. Told fans to enjoy show. It's going to be fun— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) August 28, 2012
I like the different vibes from those comments. The first is a nice statement of belief in his teammates. The second is a peek into the heart of a competitor. And the third shows that the man still enjoys what he is doing. Meanwhile, he has not lost sight of what playing football is about.
Romo to me: "We're judged by winning Super Bowls. I wouldn't want it any other way. I embrace it. What I've done hasn't been good enough."— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 28, 2012
I'm a big fan of Romo, backwards cap and all, and this kind of talk just makes me pull for him more. He takes responsibility, and, well, leads. I don't know why so many people don't think he is a leader, but those remarks sure sound like one to me.
And it sounds like the entire team is ready to get this party started. Since the end of the 2011 campaign, almost all the comments made by the players have all adhered to some basic themes. Prove it on the field. Work to get better every day. Pull together to get this done.
The schedule for the Cowboys, especially the first half, looks pretty stout. This team is going to have to be a lot better than the 2011 edition to improve the record. But right now, looking at what a couple of key players are saying, and the whole atmosphere that seems to surround the team . . .
I need me some Kool Aid.
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