It was a normal Monday on November 9, 1981. I was just ten years old and it would have been just a typical day only on this day the Dallas Cowboys were slated to play on Monday Night. It's hard to describe the level of anticipation those primetime games provided me. I was so jacked for those games as it might as well have been my birthday because it came with the same level of jubilation. I remember the comforting feeling of hearing the voices of Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, and "Dandy" Don Meredith. I remember how alluring Texas stadium looked under the lights. I remember how cool the graphics looked when they showed the Cowboys helmet on my television screen. Yes, these graphics.
It was my favorite day. But on this day, my happiness would turn to sadness.
This game featured a 6-3 Buffalo Bills team against the 7-2 Dallas Cowboys who needed a victory to stay tied with the Philadelphia Eagles. After trailing in the first half, the Cowboys would storm out and score 20 unanswered points in the third quarter to give them a 27-14 lead. For whatever reason, this game was taking more time than usual and my 9 pm bedtime had arrived, despite plenty of time left in the fourth quarter. I thought I would get a little leeway with my bedtime since the game was still going on, but that wasn't the case. My father made me go to bed. He was not a football person and didn't understand just how important this was to me. At the time, this was the worst thing that could have happened. I remember having so much anger towards my father on that night. I cried myself to sleep as I was left wondering if the Cowboys held on and won the game. Back then, there was no internet or 24-hour sports network. I had to wait until the Wednesday paper to learn the results. They won. I could finally feel happiness.
Now, I was heartbroken on this day, but as I take time to look back and reflect on my life, it served as a reminder of two big things about me - I am and have always been passionate about my Cowboys, and I have rarely been upset with my father. Yes, as a kid who would get in his fair share of trouble (mostly for climbing on things; why was I always climbing on things?) there were always those moments where I was upset with my father for disciplining me, but looking back on my adult life I came across something that I found a little unusual - I haven't had a single moment where we've had some sort of conflict. It just speaks to the great relationship my father and I have had over the years. And with today being Father's Day, I wanted to take this moment to honor our fathers who have been there for us throughout the years. Here is the man in my life that has made me the person I am today. A working man, 73-years young.
My dad has been a hard worker all his life and subsequently always had me working as a kid. I would clean up his shop after school and deliver newspapers in the morning. He even welded a basket on my dirt bike so I could carry all the newspapers. I mean, what kid doesn't want a giant basket affixed to the handle bars of his bike? Answer: me. But it was practical and while I didn't know what to think of it at first, it didn't take me long to realize how lucky I was to have such a resourceful father. I could deliver those papers in record time. I am grateful for the things my father did for me and all the things he has taught me, particularly instilling a great work ethic and showing me how to treat people well. He's my Jason Garrett. He has helped me become the greatest version of myself.
So, thanks to all the fathers out there. If you weren't there for us, things could have been much different for us. Hell, we could have ended up Eagles fans.
What is your most memorable moment with your father?