Why is Dallas Cowboys football so special on Thanksgiving?
Every time I go back home and spend a Holiday with my family, I am reminded they have aged, their health has dissipated, how short life is, and completely thankful for the time I have been given. Today, my grandmother’s blood pressure got dangerously low, as everyone wants to “call the ambulance” I had an off the wall crazy suggestion “sit down to watch the Cowboy’s game” needless to say that didn’t take long to do the trick. While watching the game, we started to share a few laughs, as we recalled our own special memories of the Thanksgiving Day tradition our family spent together for years at Texas Stadium in my hometown of Irving, Texas, the real home of The Dallas Cowboys.
Thanksgiving morning (after my mom and I would argue over who was going to get the extra ticket.) we would pack a thermos of hot chocolate with marshmallows, coffee, two huge blankets (Dallas Cowboys of course) the blue parking pass, layers of clothes and rush off to watch the Washington Redskins come into our house (at that time the most despised team in my family) with their cocky attitudes and all. I honestly don’t remember anyone caring about a turkey dinner; it was all about the football and THE DALLAS COWBOYS.
I remember being an 8 year old little girl who knew more about football than most men, the positions, players, even still remember a few of the Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleaders names (because it was my dream to be one when I grew up and as far as I was concerned there was no other career goal until I got too old to accept that time passed me by and I forgot to live my dream.) I relate the Dallas Cowboys with St. Louis and Boston, they are both huge baseball towns, and teach girls from a young age all about the game; here we are trained to know football, not just any football but Dallas Cowboys football. The Dallas Cowboys are a Religion of sorts around here in this small town, I would go to the Stadium on Sunday, and was taught to believe “the hole in the roof of the stadium was so God could watch the game after church” I didn’t know any different and still believe God watches the Dallas Cowboys every single Sunday.
My grandparents season tickets were in the end zone (where the Cowboys came out of the tunnel) my grandmother would get so excited, my grandfather would just spend the game laughing at her, while he swore he wasn’t checking out the “pretty redhead cheerleader” she would cover her eyes, pray to God, squeeze my hand until it hurt, and get so excited she would pee her pants from time to time (yes, it happened) as she screamed at Drew Pearson to (go baby go.) Texas Stadium will always be in our hearts, it is missed every single time I drive past where it stood. My childhood memories of sitting in that stadium, cheering for my home team, playing High School football games, performing dance were so precious to me, I couldn’t help but see my life flash before my eyes when they tore the place down (it was a very emotional day for me.) Change is hard for the people, who grew up here and grew up in Texas Stadium, and even some of the former players I have spoken to over the years, say it will never be the same.” It was a landmark, a legacy that should have been left, if for anything to play High School football games. Some of us struggle to adapt to the new AT&T mansion of Jerry’s World, but the love for the Cowboys on this Thanksgiving Day is the same love I had as an 8 year old.
I stopped watching the Cowboys for a long time, now I just remind myself of how hot headed I used to get, it reminds me of how loud my house was during a game (we had to fight for the bathroom during commercials) always had a fire going, enough snacks to feed an army, (and we were not allowed to talk during a game, that was a big no no) now I am thankful to be sitting and watching this game with my 88 year old grandmother, while raising our blood pressure and wishing we were there. My grandfather is not with us anymore, but those memories, my stadium seats on my back porch are a constant reminder of them both, with a place in my heart for this football team, even if the players are different, the coaches, our love for them is what we all share. I couldn’t stand the Eagles, in fact I seldom use the word hate but if I did with anyone, it was Buddy Ryan (even as a little girl I wanted to kick him in the shin) even today, losing to them still hurts me all over.
I bought my grandmother a Tony Dorsett autographed football last Christmas and she squealed (no lie) she didn’t even have to see the card to know who signed it, she knew. I have a friend who is a Hall of Famer that offered to give me a football autographed for her, I think I hurt his feelings when I told him “no thank you, it wouldn’t be the same” there was something about that time, that team. I got to meet Mr. Drew Pearson about a year ago, take my picture with him and it made my grandmother’s life, and it was an honor to meet him. She has gotten older but her heart is still young and I love seeing that light in her eyes when she talks about Thanksgiving Day and the Dallas Cowboys with the Washington Redskins (I wish they would go back to that tradition.) I would give anything to go back to that time, that place and even the smell of Texas Stadium on a Thanksgiving Day to live those memories with my grandparents that I cherish so very much.
One last thing, I really miss watching them dance to celebrate in the end zone, so one question why can’t they let those boys dance, it makes my grandmother smile and that IS the best part? I keep thinking if I have that same love for a football team I had as an 8 year old, then my 88 year old grandmother is still the same woman she was watching her boys play some ball on this Thanksgiving Day back then. Being born, bred in this town where the Dallas Cowboys were originated, I didn’t want to adapt to the change, and I pouted the whole way, but today I am reminded win or lose there really is no place like home.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and yours!