There has been precious little good news available for us to write about this season, On the field there has been heartbreak after heartbreak with the Dallas Cowboys stumbling their way to a dismal 3-8 record. That has been compounded with the injury news that we have been forced to cover this season. Even the off the field action has been of the less than favorable variety. It is enough to give a front-page writer the blues. Thankfully, at least for today, I get to show the positive side of the Dallas Cowboys for a change.
Most of you know that the Thanksgiving Day game, and the special halftime entertainment it brings, marks the beginning of the Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle Campaign. The Cowboys and the Jones family have been highly involved with these efforts since Jerry bought the team. No matter what is said about Jerry Jones, even his most ardent detractors have to give him his due when it comes to giving back to the community. The team, and they are not the only ones in the NFL who do, does its part to help out the less fortunate.
Beyond the efforts to support the Salvation Army, the team and its players are also involved in other good works around North Texas, especially at this time of the year. The players recently paid a visit to several children's hospitals in the area. Children’s Medical Center, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children, Medical City Children’s Hospital, and Cook Children’s Medical Center all received visits from players this week as some of the most physically gifted people on the planet took the time to spread a little cheer among those whose own bodies are ravaged with various medical issues.
Men like Jason Witten know just how fortunate that they are to be blessed with the gifts that they have. They take nothing for granted in this life because they know that had they been a little less fortunate, their lives would be much different and they show compassion for those who suffer and unkind fate. If the truth be known, the players get as much or more out of these visits as do the children.
"It definitely changes you. Any time you see these young kids and just their perseverance and their ability to be able to fight this, it makes you appreciate the good things you have in your life, the health of your family, More than anything else you really respect the families, the way they approach it and really the hospital - the staff, the doctors and nurses, the complete staff - just how they do this as a career and the lives that they impact." Jason Witten
The generosity of the men who make up the Dallas Cowboys goes beyond their involvement with the Salvation Army and the local children's hospitals. There are other needs in the community and many other outreach programs that the players support. While his colleagues were busy with hospital visits Sean Lee was reaching out to help in another way. Lee is very active with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dallas, and on Tuesday he was out taking members out Christmas shopping. Lee took pictures and gave autographs while at the same time he helped them pick out gifts for the other members of their families. The Boys and Girls Clubs are a project near and dear to the Cowboys linebacker. Prior to the start of the school year he did a similar project where Lee took the kids back to school shopping.
Brandon Carr is another player who has found an avenue to give back to the community that supports him. It was just announced that Carr has been named the Cowboys "Man of the Year" and he will be considered for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. His efforts revolve around helping young students of the area to expand their own horizons by becoming better readers. Brandon is also very involved in teaching them how to develop strong bodies to go along with their strong minds through fitness and nutrition programs.
Truly, off the field is where you really make your mark, I believe, changing lives, leaving a lasting impression on people. They see you with a helmet on and they just think of you as an athlete or a hard-bodied individual, but we all have passions. We all have things we would like to inspire others with. It kind of deals with the connotation that we're just jocks. We also care about our communities and care about making an impact on them in a positive way." - Brandon Carr
In a season that many of us, fans and the players as well, would like to forget there is still much to be proud of. For every black mark that has come to light there are numerous other things that rarely get noticed. I am looking at you Greg Hardy and Joseph Randle. For every shadow you have cast there is a Jason Witten, Sean Lee, or Brandon Carr who is making the Dallas area a little better place because of the time they have spend with the team. Their real success lies not on the football field, but in what they do away from the game. They are not alone. Darren McFadden, Dan Bailey, Jeremy Mincey, and many other members of the Dallas organization are out there doing things that would make us all proud if they got the coverage that the other issues did.
Unfortunately, good deeds do not often make good copy. A domestic assault, an arrest, or an emotional outburst will always draw the clicks and generate revenue. That is the way media works. There is always more good than bad, even though it does not always seem that way. The Dallas Cowboys are not unique in the world of sports. Many organizations do much for the communities that support them. That too goes unnoticed far too often. On the heels of "Giving Tuesday" we here at Blogging The Boys are taking a moment to turn the spotlight on the good that one franchise is doing for its community.
Brandon Carr summed up the spirit that surrounds many in the Dallas organization, one that can trace its origins back to the earliest days of the franchise. It is that legacy, more than anything, that makes me proud to support the Dallas Cowboys.
"We can't play this game forever, but hopefully the mark you make, the foundations and the relationships you create while you're playing this game, you can continue those after your playing days are over."