Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys fan Marshall Keisling (age 9) cheers for his team during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Evolution of a “Die-hard” Dallas Cowboys Fan

How is a “die-hard” Dallas Cowboys fan born? This remains a question with a variety of answers depending on the fan you ask. Those answers, however, usually stem from small beginnings.

Back when I was about seven or eight years old, I was engulfed in Major League Baseball and everything to do with Nolan Ryan and Frank Thomas. In the summer of 1992, when I was nine years old, we visited my mother’s family for the weekend in Brenham, Texas.

Both my older cousin Anthony and my Uncle Tony shared their extensive knowledge (and massive football card collection) of the Dallas Cowboys with me and showed me “the light.”

I remember I was simply fascinated by the larger than life players, the elegant uniforms and that beautiful iconic star. My cousin even gave me a letterman style Dallas Cowboys jacket that did not fit him anymore as a parting gift.  

Upon returning home, I traded my entire baseball card collection for my friend’s (who saw “the light” on baseball) entire football card collection as well as a small beat up plaque featuring the dynamic duo of Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman. I also purchased my first pack of football cards which revealed both a Alvin Harper and Troy Aikman card, and also bought myself my very first Dallas Cowboys jersey which I still have today, though it fits a bit tighter these days: Emmitt Smith of course.

I even remember asking a friend at recess one afternoon, “Do the Cowboys EVER lose?” He replied, “Nope, I don’t think so.” Of course for nine year old boys amidst all the winning the Cowboys enjoyed during that 1992 season, in which we finished with a franchise best record of 13-3, our perceptions were not that far from reality.

I went on to watch my new favorite team compile three Super Bowl titles in four years, the last of which, Super Bowl XXX played on January 28th, 1996, I was only 12 years old. I was 16 years old on October 10th, 1999, the last game the unprecedented trio of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin all played on the same field together.

I was 19 years old when I attended my first Cowboys game at Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day in 2002, and of course I still have the game ticket, because as we all know, you never throw out anything donning the star.

Mar 18, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former running back Emmitt Smith watches the Dallas Mavericks play against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

That was the very first and last time I was privileged to witness the greatness that was Emmitt Smith in football pads. He made it worth it too, as he rushed for 144 yards, which was his largest rushing output of his final four years in the league in a 27-20 win vs. the rival Redskins

I have witnessed the extreme highs and the “dig your heart out with a spoon” lows of being a dedicated Dallas Cowboys fanatic. And of course when I was younger, I began to take flak from a few haters at the time, but that did not matter to me, I was determined to be in this for the long hall. As I often tell fans, “If you cannot handle constant hatred as a Dallas Cowboys fan, then go root for another team!”

As I grew older, I just accepted the fact; if you root for the Cowboys, you will inevitably endure a constant stream of blind hatred around every turn. It’s the fans that learn to deal with the barrage that ultimately achieve “die-hard” status. For the record, the term “die-hard” is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “strongly or fanatically determined or devoted, especially strongly resisting change.”

So, how is a “die-hard” Dallas Cowboys fan born? The correct answer… slowly but surely, and it all started for me in the summer of 1992. That summer, my cousin and uncle created an absolute monster. Over 20 years later, that monster has evolved into one of the biggest Dallas Cowboys junkies you will ever meet. Hello and nice to meet you.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Emmitt Smith The Landry Hat

  • Chasteen81

    Great article!

    • Renny Mason

      Thanks man!! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Old Frog

    For me it was when they drafted Bob Lilly. I used to watch him play at TCU on Saturdays – my grandfather took me to the games. Been a Cowboys fan ever since.

    • Renny Mason

      A fan since 1961. They do not make ‘em like Bob Lilly anymore. The man was great, not good, great! And he looks like he could still play!

  • Aaron Carino

    My kids – both boys, 7 & 15 are being just as I was as a child. First it starts involuntarily as an infant when a lot of my pajamas and room decorations were bearing the star. You start to notice when you look back at pictures. Like my kids, my dad was a huge “die hard” fan too. So I was influenced to watch “Our” Cowboys every week. I grew addicted to watching Tony Dorsett, Too Tall Jones, Danny White, Randy White & the gang. It was easy for me to take pride in a team that was lead by the classiest, clean cut and honarable coach in Tom Landry. They had such discipline and were soo humble. I beamed with pride when “my team” always seemed to draw the other teams offside with that “up, then down” routine as they set for each play. They carried themselves like proud gentleman that were above all of the punks in the league (Raiders were famous for those types).
    I was teased in my elementary days (80′s) cuz all my friends were bandwagon 49er fans and it was the in thing with Montana & Rice. But that just solidified my stance when I found myself defending the star and was willing and actually fought a kid who teased “my Cowboys”.
    I enjoyed flaunting the star as a senior in high school cuz it was the first of 3 super bkwl wins for the triplets in 1992. Then as I went into college & started working I beamed with pride when meeting new people and proclaimed my alligiance to the star as they won 3 of 4 super bowls and owning a whopping 5 rings when the 2nd closest was a mere 3.
    Nowadays, its almost unbearingly painful to be a fan. Gone are the days of pride in your longest tenured, highly respected coach. Everyone in the world thinks your QB is a choker. They even like to bad mouth the owner. And the sad part is, even our own fans are joining them on our websites.
    In this what have you done for me lately day and age, you wont find many “die hard” fans. They are just way too impatient. Its getting increasingly more difficult to keep my kids on the bus. They want to be proud of their team as I was. I told them that I had to wait until my senior year in high school to witness the Cowboys get their ring. So I told them, you can choose to be a fan of any team you want. Just dont ask for me to buy you any fan gear that doesnt bear “The Star”!
    C’mon Cowboys, Romo, Dez, Witten, Ware, Claiborne, Lee, Carter, Carr, Smith, Garrett and Jerry, help me keep these young Cowboy fans onboard by restoring pride in the star. Throw us a bone. Better start now or you wont have any young fans in 10 years. You’ll be stuck with only us “die hard” fans. Go Cowboys!!!

    • Renny Mason

      Very True Aaron and well stated! We are a special breed of fan, but with the last 17 years, I fear a dying breed if we are not restored to greatness soon. Die-hard fans usually start out young like myself and you, but we are not giving the young much to cheer for these days. But thats another story, Forever True to the Silver and Blue!!

  • Oscar Garcia

    great article renny!!

    • Renny Mason

      Thanks Oscar!

  • Carl Navarro

    Good job on the article. If only your cousin & uncle were Colts fans….