Friday, January 18th, 2019

Confessions of a Cowboys fan

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Confessions of a Cowboys fan

It’s not easy being blue in a green and gold state


I called my mom the other day asking if she had any pictures of me when I was little wearing clothes with my favorite football team on it. She told me she didn’t, and even if I had clothes with the Dallas Cowboys logo, she would never have taken my picture wearing them.

It’s been hard on my parents, raising a Dallas Cowboys fan. They were die-hard Packer fans. They couldn’t understand where they went wrong in raising me.

I remember my dad taking me when I was little to see the Dallas Cowboys play the Green Bay Packers. I remember staying until the end of the game, watching every play as the Cowboys triumphed again. My dad remembers wondering if we were going to get out of the stadium in one piece.

It’s not like I wasn’t surrounded by Packer fans. My grandma Harriet and my uncle Ray Barrington were actually at the Ice Bowl. They left at halftime and finished listening to the game on the radio.

For many years Ray covered the Packers for the Green Bay News Chronicle. He still doesn’t understand what happened to me.

Actually, it really isn’t that hard to understand. During the 1970s, the Green Bay Packers were the East Berlin of pro football. Green Bay was cold and the team was mediocre. There were long lines for tickets but the product was nothing you really wanted. Even the highlights were shown in black and white.

The Dallas Cowboys had all the glitz and glamor of Broadway and Hollywood. They even had a player named Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson.

The Cowboys had it all. They had the cheerleaders. They had the winning team. There were even movies made about them. Nobody would’ve cared who shot J.R. Ewing if it wasn’t for the Dallas Cowboys.

In the 1970s, the Green Bay quarterback was Lynn Dickey, the Trabant of the NFL. Not bad if you could get it started.

Roger Staubach was the Ford Mustang of the NFL who could zip the ball down field or carry it himself. He made wearing number 12 cool long before that other guy started appearing in commercials with trial lawyers. Given the choice, I took America’s Team. Being a Cowboys fan hasn’t always been easy. At the last Cowboys-Packers game at County Stadium, my friend managed get us seats close to midfield. The season ticket holders kept asking who sold us the seats as they were not thrilled to see us with our Dallas Cowboys coats and blanket.

The Packers took the opening kickoff in the second half and ran it for a touchdown. They were still down but the crowd believed momentum had shifted toward their team.

On the following drive, the Cowboys’ offense looked like it might stall. The Packer fans were getting excited. Then Emmitt Smith tore off a run for 40 yards.

“That’ll shut them up,” I said. The crowd went silent. My friend started laughing.

The lady behind me couldn’t take it anymore and started hitting me with her rolled up Sterling Sharpe poster.

But life certainly takes strange twists.

My wife, the Lovely Doreen from Waukesha, is a true Packer fan. When I met her the license plates on her car read, “FVR4MVP.” When she retired the plate, she got Brett Favre to autograph it for her.

Imagine her disappointment when she learned that I was a Dallas Cowboys fan. Now imagine the two of us at church together while we were dating. As we left, people saw our team leather jackets and asked, “You two aren’t really together, are you?”

After we were married, my wife had a brother-inlaw who was also a Cowboys fan. One day while watching a game with my father-in-law, an ex-Marine, I asked him, “So Bill, what does it say when both of your daughters married Cowboys fans?”

Doreen’s dad slowly took the cigar out of his mouth and then slowly turned his head toward me. “You really want me to answer that?”

Then he turned his gaze back to the game and began puffing his cigar again.

I guess I’m lucky he let me marry his daughter. Good thing I wasn’t a Chicago Bears fan.

For the record, I’m predicting another Cowboys victory. The final score will be 31-24.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column typically runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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