Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Two Points to Make

Time to pack it in...

This past weekend was bittersweet. One of my favorite Dallas Cowboys came back to Big D and played in Texas Stadium, however he wasn't wearing the customary silver and blue, but the foreign crimson and white of the visiting Arizona Cardinals. Emmitt Smith, Mr. Reliable, Mr. Cowboy, Mr. Character, Mr. Integrity, Mr. Everything...came back to Big D after talking big trash about the city's favorite sons, and much unlike he expected, he was humiliated, beaten and broken.

This past summer, Emmitt made comments about his last years with the Cowboys, that basically in a nutshell amounted to the fact that he felt as though he was a diamond surrounded by trash while playing for the Cowboys. Now, of course he went back and recanted his statements, and tried to make sense of what he said, but that's the beauty of language. Once you hear it once, that's pretty much how it's going to stay in your mind. So now, this man who meant so much to the city and county of Dallas, to the Cowboys Organization, to the Jones Family and to millions of fans all over the world, in a sense alienated himself at the very house that he helped to sustain, Texas Stadium.

I pity my hero. I pity him because he does not see what the rest of us do; that it's time for him to give it up and go. He's the all-time leading rusher, an NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, three time Super Bowl Champion, All-Pro, All-Madden, and still one of the most beloved figures in Dallas, but on Sunday there he lay helpless and seemingly lifeless as that very trash that he mentioned in the summer, stood over him while Texas Stadium cheered. This certified Hall of Famer laid resourceless on the new Texas Stadium turf, the same turf where he broke the rushing record. And for many young fans, who will not have the benefit of looking back at his past brilliance at Texas Stadium, the Vet in Philly, Candlestick Park in San Fran, or RFK in D.C., this will be their lasting impression of the very man who single-handedly helped to elevate the game with not only his play on the field, but his blemishlessly sterling life off the field.

The Emmitt I'll always remember will be the one in the Super Bowl XXVII parade in Downtown Dallas. The shy one sitting on the trunk of a convertible Vette, hugging his niece, tightly. The 'aw-shucks' guy from Florida. Our hero, our friend, our inspirator, our legend, our Emmitt.


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