The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

An Open Letter to All Dallas Cowboys Fans

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Jonathan Bales

Make no mistake about it: I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan.  Even though I am supposed to be part of the “media” (I guess), I don’t hide the fact that I eat, sleep, and breath Dallas Cowboys.  Even though this site is dedicated to objective film study and statistical analysis, I don’t disguise myself as a completely non-biased sports writer (although I do aim for that).  And even though I have a duty to supply you with the best, most unique Cowboys-related material in a timely manner, sometimes, at times like this, I simply don’t feel like it.

When I woke up this morning (and on all mornings following a loss like this one), I wasn’t in a particularly buoyant mood.  Actually, I felt like crap.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  Is it peculiar for a grown man to let a game affect his life to such an immense degree?  You bet.  Will I ever let it stop?  No way in hell.

See, that’s exactly what being a football fan is about–not just the thrill of victory, but also the despair of defeat, and the loyalty that binds, even necessitates the two.  Everyone wants to be there when times are good.  Everyone is a fan in the playoffs.  But who is going to stand by their team during the rough times?  Who is going to support their Dallas Cowboys now that they are 0-2?  Because to sufficiently enjoy the good times, you have to be there for the bad.

Trust me with all of your heart, fellow Cowboys fans, when I say the sweetness of future victory will be greatest for those of you who are most loyal right now.  Those who are suffering. . .rejoice in knowing you will feel the greatest triumph when your Dallas Cowboys rebound.  Whether it takes a game or five seasons, continue to be loyal.  Embrace these moments of despair.  Remember what this feels like.

The great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the first Western thinkers to posit the complementary nature of “opposite” values.  Love and hate, for example, are not diametrically opposed, but rather two forms of the same emotion.  They complement one another; even become one another; and certainly necessitate one another.  What is love without hate?  It’s nothing.  Its existence is meaningless.

Similarly, what is the joy of victory without the anguish of defeat?  There is none.  Why do you surmise Chicago Cubs fans are some of the most loyal, die-hard fans of any team in sports, yet their club has not won a World Series in, like, a century?  Can you imagine the joy they will feel when the Cubbies finally win a championship?

Now, I’m not at all claiming you should become accustomed to losing.  I am one of the most competitive people I know and I want to win at all times.  Winning, and the drive to become a champion, is what fuels not only athletes, but people in all walks of life.  As Coach Boone said in Remember the Titans, “I’m a winner.  I’m going to win.”

Let’s not forget, though, that being a winner isn’t about always winning, but rather reacting positively to defeat.  The best sports teams, the best football players, even the best human beings, all have two things in common.  First, they all get knocked down.  They get beat, punched in the mouth, dealt a bad hand, and so on.  But the second thing they all have in common is what makes them winners: they get back up.  They respond positively to adversity, arising from the gloom even stronger than before they entered.

In short, winners are at their best when everything else is at its worst.  The existential psychologist Rollo May once wrote:

What is courage?  This courage will not be the opposite of despair.  We shall often be faced with despair, as indeed every sensitive person has been during the last several decades in this country.  Courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair.

Many people think it is silly to label a bad stretch by your favorite sports teams as a time of “despair,” but I don’t.  I know how you are feeling, and I am right here with you.

But now is not the time to feel sorry for ourselves.  Now is the time to embrace and remember our feelings, but overcome them.  We need to act as we want the players to act.  Why should we expect them to overcome adversity if we ourselves are so quick to give into the tribulations of the current times, curling into the fetal position (metaphorically and literally, for some) and abandoning all loyalty in an attempt to find a scapegoat for what has gone wrong?

Instead, we need to be loyal now more than ever.  Support your Dallas Cowboys with everything you have inside of you.  Be there during the lowest of lows, because it will make the highs that much sweeter.

Be the best fan you can be.

Be a winner.

To have no loyalty is to have no dignity, and in the end, no manhood.

- P.T. Forsyth

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25 Responses to An Open Letter to All Dallas Cowboys Fans

  1. Beautiful words, man! I’m so sorry I can’t be at the Cowboys’ games, since I’m fron Brazil. But I’m rooting as best as I can, as hard as I can, from here. NEVER GOING TO GIVE UP! Come on Cowboys, bring’em on the Texans and let the comeback begin. COWBOYS 4 LIFE!

  2. Dan says:

    I agree completely and i believe that most of the fans that take the time to read these articles and comment are die hard cowboys fans such as yourself. The one this that does disgust the fans however is the seeming lack of intensity, prep work, and drive to win with this team. You should be focusing less on the fans sticking with the team and more on the payers sticking with it. It is a joke that players are questioning each others dedication to win within the locker room. The fans are not the problem. Write a real article, not a wanna be writers sad take on a football game.

  3. Thanks Pedro..keep supporting.

    And also thank you to you Dan, for making my point for me.

  4. Grant T. Byrd says:

    Jonathon-
    Thanks for the words. I am a loyal fan. I so liked your Forsyth quote, I printed it and hung it up in my office.
    Cheering our ‘Boys on!

  5. Tony says:

    Hi. Im a Cowboy fan to DEATH and especially living in North Jersey (GIants Town) its heart breaking when they lose and look the way they have. But I will never betray my team. GO BIG D!!!

  6. Grant…that’s awesome! It is an awesome quote.

    Tony–I am from Philly, so I know the feeling.

  7. moses says:

    I was the same way; even worse.
    When the Cowboys lost, I cried. I was only 10 but it hurt a lot. I don’t cry anymore but I still suffer watching them lose.
    I have to be careful and distance myself a bit or else I’m mad for most of the week.

  8. Vince Grey says:

    The best advice I can give reactionary Cowboys fans who either claim the sky is falling after a bad game or three, or constantly call for heads to roll, (It’s always either Jerry, Wade, Romo, or Garrett, or some combination of that group.) is to:

    (A) Take some time to cool off. I promise you, after a loss like this, I’m wanting people canned, demoted, cut, and, in some cases, shot, but time allows me to see the big picture and reflect on what’s REALLY bad football.

    This ain’t bad people. Bad is 1988 and `89. This is just irritating because the talent is there and isn’t performing up to it’s potential, but that can be fixed.

    (B) STOP listening (Or reading) the talking heads. Ok, listen, but take it all in with a grain of salt. I’m completely convinced that now it’s the mainstream sports media’s job to rile up fans with explosive, over-the-top negative commentary that they can’t possibly believe unless they’re utter morons (Sadly true in some cases) or being told to say such garbage.

    It’s 2 games. No one looks invincible in this division, or in the entire NFC for that matter. We KNOW we can beat the Saints, and I guarantee you they won’t have the incredible luck they did last year, when every bounce and call when their way.

  9. Moses–Mad for most of the week would explain my attitude pretty well haha

    Vince–Sound advice. Lots of times opinions on Monday are quite different from those on Friday, even for people like me and you.

  10. john coleman says:

    Dang! That’s a win one for the gipper speech. I feel your pain bro as I live,eat and breathe the Cowboys. I don’t really even follow other pro sports anymore, just football. I like you and the rest could probably handle our start a little better if it were not for all of the talent on this team. Really 0-2 is not something that we can’t overcome. However most diehards know our schedule really makes every game a must win. The good news is our competitors are just 1-1 and their schedules are tough too.

  11. It really is the talent that changes everything. Amazing how expectations can change emotions.

  12. Chris Stallcup says:

    I’m a diehard cowboys fan, i proudly have my keys attached to a dallas cowboys lanyard that i let hang from my pocket. I live in Dallas and ironically there are so many bandwagon Saints fans. I get frustrated when i hear people saying Romo Sucks or Get rid of Romo. these people arent even fans but they insist on thinking they know what is best for the team. I have come to get annoyed with the media. theres only one person in the media that i listen to and that is Big Nate Newton, his perspective on the cowboys is a very interesting one since he knows the inside of the organization.

    BTW I think our front 7 is amazing and aggresive but in my opinion our secondary is the polar opposite. they are so passive and thats the reason why we dont get turnovers. if you watch the game they never jump routes….with the exception of jenkins

  13. Travis says:

    Beautiful stuff Jonathan. Hit it right on the head about true sports fandom.

  14. Chris..I think part of that is just the philosophy of the defense. They have a “bend but don’t break” mentality that allows the front seven to be super-aggressive but forces the back four to play safe. You’re right that Jenkins is the most aggressive, and I think he shows you CAN play an aggressive game within a somewhat passive scheme.

    Thanks Travis!

  15. Pingback: Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears Week 2: What We Learned About Dallas | Dallas Cowboys Times

  16. Brett says:

    Great Posts! I went to this game with my girlfriend. It was suppose to be a great vacation and our first game together. It was brutal to watch them lose the same way they always do. Too many mistakes, not enough breaks. To spend over $2000 I really couldnt afford to watch it live. But oh well. I feel the same despair but must remind ourselves the season is young. Don’t doubt these Cowboys! The Victories to come will feel that much sweeter! I promise.

    PS Jonathon this is way your site is the best. Because you ARE a fan.

  17. Thanks Brett! I know the feeling of making the trip to a game to see them lose, but at least you and your gf got to see the stadium together.

  18. Norman says:

    I have been a fan since 77 and I will never turn on my Dallas Cowboys. I live in Philadelphia. This was a good article and thank you for sharing it with us.

  19. Thanks Norman…I grew up in Philly as well.

  20. MARIO A. CHARITY SR says:

    WHAT YOU SAID HERE IS TRUE TO HEART, ONCE UPON A TIME WE WERE 1-15, AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT FIVE SUPERBOWLS LATER HERE WE STAND, THERE IS OLNY ONE WAY THE COWBOYS WAY TRUE BLUE BABY ONE LOSE OR DRAW, COWBOYS FOREVER

  21. You’re right Mario. I think the frustration stems from all the talent on the team.

  22. Omar says:

    Were all still fans, some of us just want a few changes.

  23. Kevin Keithley says:

    Feel the same way about MY Cowboys. I’ve been a fan for over 40 years and althought I bleed a little with every loss I know it will get better. The way I see it, we have played poorly but are only 1 game out of first place in the division. For all the naysaying, mouthbreathing, bottomdwelling, hating, get-rid-of (fill in the blank), fair weather so called “fans”- take a deep breath and count to ten. Or better yet, go climb on someone elses bandwagon

  24. Brady Parker says:

    That is a great post, I have been a fan since 1962, I have been to many
    many games, at the cotton bowl. Texas Stadium now Jerrys World. I have been very loyal over the years. However very critical of Jerry Jonea starting with the firing of Tom Landry and the total lack of respect in which Coach Landry was fired. My father went to his grave hating Jones for the firing of Landry. I was not that harsh, but it stung. After a few years and 3 Super Bowls later I was ok with Jones. I could see he wanted to win. Now I am not sure. It seems to me he is mor interested in marketing the Boyzs. Thats ok provided you win. He is dragging team all over the country to make money. He needs to get out of coaching and hire a GM. Someone who knows who to win, because he does not know how to win. 15 years of the same BS.
    Again I will support the team even during hard times. Jerry needs to spend the and let the coaches coach. First move is Jerry fires himself followed by Garrett.
    Who knows whT will happen. This team is in turmoil, the locker room is in a mess according to a buddy of mine from within the locker room.

    I guess we will know if it gets fixed. I hope they do.

    Go Cowboys

  25. Thanks Brady…I’m not one to count out a team early in the season, but with Dallas’ mid-season schedule, I think any hope of the playoffs is almost zero if they lose in Houston.

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