Written by: Joe Stringari
Life is the accumulation of Billions of moments stacked on top of one another, like a sundae you would make as a kid with whatever was stored in moms kitchen. Chocolate, nuts, caramel. Whipped cream if you were lucky, cherry on top if you were fancy. Thing is, when you ate it, there was always a bite or two better than the rest. In life, those bites are the best of’s!
I had a best of moment Wednesday night, when the Cowboys opened the 2012 season by whooping the defending champion New York Giants. I relished in the good, screamed through the bad, and said things to Eli during the game that would have made my parents ashamed of me. It was for me, in those three hours, a bite of caramel and nuts with the perfect amount of whipped cream.
As I watched the Red Zone all day Sunday, I cheered for my fantasy players to score; the players I was against to fail all the while I was at ease because we beat the Giants. Yeah “WE” I used to make fun of the “WE” people reminding them that they don’t play on the team, but I will go to the Pearly Gates and be able to look Saint Peter in the face and tell him I was as much a part of the Dallas Cowboys as anyone who might have walked the earth before, or after me.
I remember watching the pre-season debut of Tony Dorsett in 1977. There was a magical moment in that game when my older brother looked at me and said, “He’s going to be the best running back in NFL history.” We went outside, put on our football helmets on, and I spent the next hour chasing my brother around the yard. He stiff armed me and scored touchdown after touchdown, calling himself Tony Dorsett the whole time. That day, the fake Tony Dorsett was the greatest back of all time, and The real Tony Dorsett didn’t do too shabby either. He went on to win Rookie-of-the-Year, the Super Bowl, and was elected into the Hall of Fame. That day in the Pre-season of 1977 was a crisp, clean, unadulterated bite of vanilla. 34 years later it would still be my favorite ice cream.
December 1979 was a cold day, and when I say cold, I mean Cody-Wyoming (elevation 5000 plus)-week-before-Christmas-snot-froze-in-the-nostrils cold. I am not a historical meteorologist, but I remember that day feeling like it was the ice age, and we would freeze to death if it wasn’t for the burn in my belly for the football game to come. Cowboys vs. Redskins… for all the marbles.
Up until the 4th quarter, I don’t remember much of the game, but I had a ritual that if the Cowboys were down and the game was on the line I would pray, and pray I would intently do, asking for the Cowboys to win saying roughly 100 “Our Fathers” until something good would happen. It worked! To this day I’ll tell you it worked. Probably not so much because God wanted the Cowboys to win(Maybe he did?), but because we had Roger Staubach, and Roger was undeniably the best end- of-the-game Quarterback to don shoulder pads in the NFL.
The “Skins had the lead and the ball, with little time left. My brother, (Fake Tony Dorsett), turned to me and said, “Start Praying.” The next five minutes of my life was a whirlwind. My prayers rallied the defense for a stop, and Captain Comeback took the Boys right down the field scoring a touchdown and winning the game 35-34. We danced! We cheered! We ran around the house yelling and screaming the praises of the Cowboys. We hadn’t won the Super Bowl that year, but you couldn’t convince a frozen eight-year- old of it.
That was a cherry on top kinda day.
The memories and moments of being a fan are countless. I could list chronological moments for days. Being the only team to beat the Redskins in their otherwise undefeated season would be there. The rebuilding of the Dynasty that won three Superbowls had moments upon moments. Emmitt Smith. Just his name floods me with emotion and memories.
Not all the moments are great, but then again not all the bites of the sundae are great either. Your sister sneaks a walnut in your sundae because she likes them. GAG! Steelers beat us in Superbowl XIII. On my birthday no less. Cry! Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone. Cry! Tom Landry gets fired. Cry! Tom Landry dies. Cry again.
It is the accumulation of fandom and the moments that parallels the accumulation of life and the memories attained. Intertwined as they are, I can’t imagine one without the other. This Sunday the Cowboys travel to Seattle. I won’t physically be in Washington with them, but I will be emotionally. With any luck, there will be something outstanding. Maybe even miraculous. I can add to my sundae. I have become partial to pistachios these days.