One of the ironies of fanatical sports devotion is a fan’s identity will be indissoluble the team, yet the team may never know the fan existed. In the wake of mortal expiration, not so much as a sympathy card scribbled in pencil will be sent by the organization’s PR intern. Nothing. There is nothing given to signify the fan’s passing.
That wasn’t the case in October 2011 for an Ennis gentleman, an uncle of one of the member’s friends. The late man from Ennis was a huge Cowboys fanatic and his family wanted to send him off appropriately to the Ring of Honor in the sky.
Five other members accompanied President Jose to Ennis, Texas with his own car Dynasty, Ortiz’s Big Blue and member “LIL’ Man’s” Dallas Creeper. The friends and relatives of the dearly departed donned Dallas Cowboys jerseys and outfits, and began to weep when they saw Cowboys Life park at the chapel.
“These people were trying to pay us, but we didn’t accept no money,” “Cowboy” remembers, even though he couldn’t make the trip. “We took it more as a blessing.”
“We drove five miles through town,” President Jose recalls. “We drove from the chapel to the cemetery. Everybody saw us.”
Cowboys Life wasn’t simply part of the funeral procession. They were the funeral procession. The seats were taken out of Dallas Creeper so there would be enough space to haul the Ennis man’s coffin. The pallbearers rode with him in Dallas Creeper while the family rode in the other Cowboys Life vehicles. It was just like your typical funeral procession, except if a diehard Cowboys fan oversaw the final arrangements.
The car club has starred in more lively and joyful events. Regularly, Cowboys Life is asked to be a part of quinceañeras, with one having taken place at Cowboys Stadium itself. Cowboys Life escorted the young lady from her church to a tour of the stadium and then to her house. It was the best fifteenth birthday present a diehard Cowgirl could ask.
Yes, even current Cowboys players Mike Jenkins and Gerald Sensabaugh know about the devoted car club. Yet, true to their selfless motives, all player autographs from such encounters are donated for charity at fundraiser car shows. And the members don’t hound the players like other fans, because Cowboys Life members are celebrities of their own.
“When I drive up to a gas station, I might stay 30 or 45 minutes there, because people want to get in it, sit it in.” “Cowboy” unabashedly doesn’t mind. He doesn’t want to be the type of celebrity that’s too busy to meet his public.
Cockiness and pride is not permitted in Cowboys Life Car Club. The members realize that such pomposity will be their downfall. Even confrontations with fans from rival teams is verboten. Frankly, because it’s unwarranted.
“Believe it or not, it’s a lot respect that we get from the other teams because they’ve never seen anything like this,” President Jose elaborates.