On August 26th, I drove over two hours in my 14-year old car with over 240,000 miles on it (yes, it’s a Honda) on my almost-yearly trek, to attend my beloved Dallas Cowboys training camp at River Ridge Field in Oxnard, CA. Except for the fans who stay at the Marriott Residence Inn next door, the rest of us park in a half dirt/half mud parking lot that really should only allow dune buggies and 4-wheelers.
We all pay $10.00 for a parking space and while we’re watching our Cowboys train, a big truck maneuvers through the “parking lot,” row by row, to water down the dirt and mud which sprays that same dirt and mud all over the cars and trucks. The water truck does not just give a mere sprinkling; it’s like the force escaping from a fire hydrant. But, it’s all part of the fan experience.
Anyway, for 9:15 a.m. practice, I stood at the 50-yard line, behind the fence that surrounds the entire field. Official-looking city volunteers with official-looking badges manage the crowd and exchange friendly banter. I was amidst hundreds of other fans, some highly annoying in their fan-like behavior. One fan screams over and over at the top of her lungs, “Miles, I love you Miles.” I overheard comments from those around her to the effect of, “maybe she’ll lose her voice…” Oh well, every fan exhibits their affection in their own personal style – she provided some laughs and entertainment along the way. For the most part, Cowboys fans are good-natured, friendly, non-violent fans.
As I watched the 3:15 p.m. practice drills from the end zone, I observed a few lessons we can all take to heart: