I can remember the excitement of the fall season weekends as a small boy. Friday’s were special to me because a long day at school was always followed by my dad taking me to one of the local high school football games. I can remember specifically looking up to those guys who were no older than 17 or 18 years old. Guys like J Fields and Geoffrey Ornelas, which are meaningless names to you, were my inspiration to play the game of football.
Saturdays only made things better. Growing up as a huge fan of the Texas Longhorns inspired me to one day don the burnt orange and white. I loved to watch Major Applewhite with his fiery red hair as he would throw deep bombs to Roy Williams and B.J. Johnson. I remember imitating his throws in the backyard passing to imaginary receivers and jumping up and down as if I had just thrown the game winning touchdown pass to Roy Williams in the Rose Bowl.
When Sundays would roll around it was time for my Dallas Cowboys to take the field. Seeing those guys every Sunday reinforced my passion and love for the game of football. Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith were my heroes. Those championships that they won still replay over and over in my head even though I may have been too young to fully understand how they special they were.
I loved to play the game, but like most of us I wasn’t gifted enough to play past my high school days. My passion for the game never wavered and still does not to this day. I learned to live my love of the game through my heroes. I knew before long that I would probably never have the opportunity to wear that star on my helmet but my heroes could.
Oftentimes I think we get too caught up in the politics of the game. We only consider the wins and losses column, the play calling of the coaches, or the owner’s mistakes. It seems as if sometimes we lose that pure love of the game that we had as kids. Just the love of watching our heroes go out and do what we never could.
Several years ago when the Cowboys brought in Roy Williams needless to say I was pumped. Unfortunately that move didn’t pan out as most of us would have liked but I can’t deny that there was a sense of pure happiness to see him, a former Longhorn, strut out of the tunnel in a Dallas Cowboys uniform.
Now rumors of signing Henry Melton and the bleak possibilities of drafting Kenny Vaccaro or Alex Okafor have me remembering those days as a child, sitting under the Friday night lights with my dad and wishing one day I could be there.
This article is for all you Cowboys fans out there. Even if it’s for only the five minutes it takes you to read this, forget about the politics of the game and go back to your childhood love for it. Let us all know who your heroes were, the ones you looked up to and dreamed could one day wear that star proudly because you weren’t able to.
Whether it be a Major Applewhite or a Roy Williams that most of us have heard of, or even just a J Fields or Geoffrey Ornelas that inspired you as high school stars, let us know. Leave a comment below and remind us all why we fell in love with the game in the first place.