Cowboy Nation: It's Getting Closer...

David SalinasContributor IAugust 4, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 25:  A general view of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium under construction on May 25, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

I sometimes think of the choices I've made in life.  For instance, religion, the choice I've made for religion could very well be the wrong one.  After my demise there could be a lake of fire that will introduce me to new and exciting horrors for all of eternity.  This is a scary concept, but I've made my choice.

How about the decision not to exercise after marriage?  That was a bad choice, one that I don't have to wait for death to regret.  One that all I have to do is look down to my toes, and instantly angle around my midsection.  Bummer.

When I think about the choice to select Dallas and the NFL as my sport and team, I realize that my conscience mind and the tools that I use to make decisions never played a part.  

I didn't choose to become a Dallas Cowboy fan.  I never woke from my bed, eyes blazing saying, "Go Cowboys!".  That never happened.  I believe my love for that team is embedded in my DNA.  I grew up in Texas.  And even though there was another team closer in vicinity to where we lived (the Oilers), there would only be Dallas (cue "Dallas" theme music here, and let it be known, I shot JR).

I don't know if it was the hole in the roof, the cunning choices of silver and blue (my favorite colors), or the colorful personalities that were a part of the organization.  The Houston Oilers in contrast had an oil contraption on their helmet, and had baby blue and white as their team colors, none of which resemble any kind of oil I've ever seen.

But there was something about football, something about the burn off of summer and the fresh, striking change of autumn.  I became a different person on Sundays.  Usually mild-mannered and happy-go-lucky, on Sundays I became a raging wild man, screaming at a ref that couldn't possibly hear me through the TV.

Early in our relationship, my wife was apprehensive to marry, only because she had not met the Mr. Hyde that only existed during football season.  And when he was awake, she did not like it.  Every year in the waining months of the season, December and January, the Cowboy devil that exists in me would slow to a crawl.  By February he was in deep hibernation.

Truth be told, these months are sad, weak months with nothing to fill the NFL hunger.  Oh sure, there's news here and there.  In April, there's always the draft to look forward to.  Then it's a painful drag to July, to the start of camp, to the awakening of Mr. Hyde, the Cowboy devil, and I, again, feel alive. 

What I could never understand were the fans that seemed to only come around when my team was winning.  Fair weather fans.  Pittsburgh had a lot of these types of fans last year, these same losers were New York Giants fans the year before.  These people only follow those who win the Super Bowl year after year.  These people are sick.

These types of fans are far below those type of fans that I call "the enemy."  I have great respect for these people, TRUE NFL fans who have followed their favorite team all of their lives.

For instance, 49er fans.  These people have little hope for this season, but they are grinding it out with the rest of us.  They follow the toughest sport in America, in the gayest city in the world.  God Bless 'em.  

The fans that I have the most respect for are those who live in other cities, where there are other NFL teams.  Cowboy fans that live in the heart of Philly.  These people are the sport Gods, daring to live in the womb of the enemy.  They are like double agents, having to live in eagle filth, eagle news, eagle signs and still love the Cowboys.  That never ceased to amaze me.

At first I was skeptical of these people who grew up in Cleveland, or Seattle, or Denver and loved the Cowboys.  People in Washington who hate the hogs, but love the Cowboys.  In my world, the 31 other teams are the enemy, and living behind enemy lines deserves the highest respect.  To all Dallas Cowboy fans from around the world, I salute you.     

So here we are, July is dead, and the cause of death could very well be arson.  There were 22 days of over 100 degree weather in San Antonio in the month of July.  The high never dipped below 95, and July, named after Julius Caesar by his nephew Augustus Caesar (August), never had a chance.

However, another dead July brings forth the jewels of August, and the sounds of NFL football.  For the next month, the Dallas Cowboys and I will live in the same city.  And while the whole Cowboy base keeps their fingers crossed for no major injuries through pre-season, we want to see some contact. 

What I've seen in camp has been very promising.  TR has looked extremely sharp, and all the hype about connecting and syncing with Roy Williams is just that, hype.  Sure last year was a problem, but that was last year.  A whole offseason was just what was required for the two offensive Pro-Bowlers to get aligned.

I liked how Head Coach Wade Phillips made players accountable for mental mistakes such as off-sides penalties.  He has removed players from the line for just that, and is continuing on his path for a tougher, more accountable camp.

The linebackers are crisp, and my thought is that we will not miss Zach Thomas, because Keith Brookings looks like an upgrade.  Let's not forget the monster known as DeMarcus Ware.  Ware is looking to improve on his 20 sack performance from last year.  

For the bottom of the bunch we have a number of what I like to call "last year" players.  If these guys can't stay healthy and up their performance, it'll be their last year.  Isaiah Stanback leads this group as a number of injuries and lack of contribution has hurt his stock.  If he can't get the ball rolling this year, he may be replaced by "Fourth and Long" winner Jesse Holley.

Bobby Carpenter has been around since the days of Parcells, but he will not be around much longer if the mental errors continue.  Tony Romo is an outstanding QB, but I have to admit, my support for him on this team will wain if he can't produce in the "Romo Friendly" era.

They have scrapped all the anti-Romos from the team.  They have praised him in the press, quite frankly, there is nothing else Wade and Jerry could have done to make this a more Romo friendly team short of giving Jason Witten a makeover.  All I can say is, win Romo, win, cause if you don''ll be Jon Kitna's turn.

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