I have been a Dallas Cowboys fan for longer than I can remember, since probably before kindergarten. My father had few other interests and I was his boy, so loving sports was a requisite in my home. You choose your teams wisely and think you’ll stay with them forever, like your first best friend or first kiss. Best friends came and went, girlfriends passed though, but the Dallas Cowboys moved in and have forever lived rent free in my head & heart. Now I’m 47 and not 4, no longer call them “us,” but last night when they lost again in the playoffs, I was shocked by how disappointed I was.
I have come to believe fandom is an irrational insanity. What other arena would you continue to patronize and, in the worst cases, identify with a product that’s quality varies this wildly. If you only bought Dawn dish detergent, then it changed formulas and no longer cleaned your dishes, you’d find a new detergent. If you really loved Chipotle, how many cold, rotten burritos would it take before you stopped going? Would you still stand in lines because you had a good one 30 years ago? How many stale, crushed bags of Doritos would you buy before you found some new chips? How many times does Lucy have to pull the football, sending you flying through the air, before you stop having her hold???? In fact, if you had 30 unbroken years of losses with your spouse…
I left DirecTV, with extreme prejudice, paying the early cancellation fee, after 1 long year of terrible service. With the Cowboys, 1 long year sounds like a dreamlike utopia.
I used to ride or die with the Detroit Tigers baseball team, and if you’d ask me, I’d still tell you they’re my favorite team, but it doesn’t affect my life at all. I have no idea how many wins they had last year or who their current shortstop or manager is.
I understand children chaining themselves to a team, because to a kid, everything and anything is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. But leaving that behind, with the rest of the grade-school trends and fashions, sounds like the right way for an adult to behave.
And yet. When Dak Prescott threw a 6 years pass in the middle of the field deep in their own territory as time expired, my heart broke again. I don’t know why. I don’t know Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott. I don’t think Jerry Jones would be a particularly nice person – but maybe he is. That’s the point, how would I know? I’ve never met him. Why does my Sunday evening (and Monday morning) have anything to do with the fibula of Tony Pollard?
When I was 4, I loved the big beautiful star. That’s why I chose the Dallas Cowboys. When people ask me why, that’s the honest answer. Danny White and the star. But a logo is hardly a reason to handcuff myself for the rest of my life to a perpetually good (that’s what makes it so heart-breaking – that every year, we think “maybe this is the year,” like a legion of Neanderthals) professional football franchise.
Maybe I’m done. But I’m not.
Maybe I’ll pick a new team, or better yet, no team. Maybe I’ll just watch the games as a completely impartial party, enjoying the athleticism and the game. But I won’t.
It’s not loyalty, either, like other broken people say. It’s a masochistic disorder. But it’s my masochistic disorder. It’s our masochistic disorder.
But next year will totally be our year.