It’s happening! Training camp is just about here!
The Dallas Cowboys will practice with the cool ocean breeze of Oxnard, California from July 26th until August 15th. There are 12 practices held at River Ridge Playing Fields located at 2501 Ventura Road. Admission is free, but they do charge for parking. They let people in a couple of hours before practice starts so come early if you don’t like getting stuck in traffic. On Saturday, July 29th, starting at 9 a.m., they will have The Cowboys Back Together event that will feature live entertainment, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders autograph signings, Rowdy the mascot, and a bunch of prize giveaways.
Here are the complete practice dates/times and since all this is happening on the West Coast, all times are PST.
Now, that you know when practices are happening, it’s also good to have a sense of what to look for at the practices or even preseason games when those finally arrive. Having a good feel for all the players and their jersey numbers can be helpful. That reminds me of a story that represents one of my proudest moments as a fan.
I was playing poker and as usual, I was decked out in Cowboys attire (always represent!) which I have learned over the years invites quite a bit of trash talk from other players. It was nothing I wasn’t used to. One guy at the table was persistent with his banter, first starting off with the usual “they haven’t won anything in blah, blah, blah” or “Jerry Jones is the devil” rhetoric. After continuously playing back at him (while also taking his money), he made one last push to get a rise out of me with the “You know the thing I really hate about Cowboys fans is that they’re all fake. They’re not real fans. They don’t even know the players on their team.” I looked at him and his Seattle Seahawks ballcap and said, “Do you know the players on your team?”
I then challenged him to name 10 guys on his football team. He couldn’t. He only made it to seven. Laughable. Facing embarrassment, he asked me if I could name 10 guys on the Cowboys. Big mistake. I just looked at him stone-faced and said I could name every player on their 90-man roster. He started laughing, his buddies started laughing, and suddenly things got interesting. He then challenged my arrogance and made a wager that I couldn’t name 50 players on the roster. Deal. Two other people at the table got in on this wager, including one guy at the table who hadn’t said a word all night, but apparently just liked to bet on things. His buddy pulled out his phone and looked up the Cowboys roster. Second by second, I crushed their spirits as they listened to the sound of their money making its way to my pockets. I remember vividly when I mentioned Drew Scott’s name, who at the time was the backup long-snapper behind L.P. Ladouceur. Their faces were filled with despair as they realized they messed with the wrong fan. “Who the %*@! knows the backup long snapper?” replied one guy at the table. I do. I know them all. Once I got to 50 players, I collected my money and things got a lot quieter the rest of the night. I silenced the haters!
Now, what they didn’t know is that it was just a couple of weeks from preseason, and during that time of the year, I make a concerted effort to know all the players (and their numbers) so I am better prepared when I watch game film. Had they asked me a month earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to make it all the way to 90.
What they also didn’t know is that I am a Cowboys junkie and know this team a little more than the average bear. People can say they don’t like the Cowboys. They can say the Cowboys haven’t touched the Lombardi in over two decades. But what they can’t say is that we diehards are not true fans. Others may love their team, but their fandom is dwarfed by how much we diehards love ours.
So, to stay one step ahead of the run-of-the-mill fan, here is a rundown of all the players currently on the Cowboys roster and their jersey numbers. Study up!