It took many years after that first great experience, but I eventually started to learn the NFL rules. Grandpa also very patiently and methodically taught me the nuances of the NFL and everything Dallas Cowboys. My Grandpa had what our family, with some affection and some disdain called, the “Cowboys Room.” Every Sunday after church we would go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house and hang out with my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins, eat Grandma’s famous pot roast, and watch America’s Team. Those were magnificent days!
Now, the thing about Grandpa’s Cowboys room is that it was chock full of very strict rules. You had to be quiet in the room and once more you were required to watch the game. No fidgeting, talking, running around, nor tomfoolery, and you may only talk during commercials, and at that you could only talk about the game. It was an island of Cowboys peace and solitude, and pretty much a kid’s worst nightmare. If you violated any of the Cowboy Room rules you were immediately asked to leave, and if the infraction was very severe, maybe even banished for life. I have a little cousin who spilled a drink during game time in the Cowboys Room and we haven’t heard from them since.
It wasn’t all strict, though. The payoff was that if you could keep your jitters and mumbles down for an entire game, Grandpa might let you dip your hand into the biggest jar of jelly beans you have ever seen and take as many as your tiny hands could hold. I also got to spend time with my Grandpa, and that was the best of all.
As I aged and Grandpa taught me more, my love for football and especially the greatest team on the planet, the Dallas Cowboys of course, only grew. Grandpa invested time and energy into me, and that made a huge impression. He taught me to golf when I was ten years old, took me to his Shriner lodge, and introduced me to his friends in a very proud Grandfather way. For me, the Dallas Cowboys are more than just an NFL team.
Although I admire greatly the franchise’s owner Jerry Jones, the many coaches over the years, and especially all the players, I always hearken back to the times I spent with Grandpa in the Cowboy Room and know that the deeper bond with my Cowboys started there. The Dallas Cowboys instantly transport me to happy memories. The team doesn’t always play the way I want them to, nor do they win, but they are mine and Grandpa’s (God rest his soul) team, and my love and devotion will never waiver. Tell me about your first Dallas Cowboy’s experience, and why they are more than just America’s Team to you.
Follow Matt Thornton on Twitter: @MattsCowboys