Back a few weeks ago, in my “Mid-Season Award” article, I touched on my trip to Dallas Stadium with my dad on Halloween, showing some pictures along the way and summarizing the best parts. I didn’t get into a lot of specific details, since I wanted to focus more on my first-ever awards article, but now that there’s an actual AC Topic about my favorite sports memory, I can delve even further.
First off, flying yourself or with only one other person is amazing. I’m so used to flying with my entire family with all our bags, overweight items and extra luggage (I’m looking at you, mom and sister). My dad and I are simple folk, so we pack light enough, and that makes an extreme difference when going through airport security. The flight was short, one way, to Dallas Fort-Worth, which is so much less congested than the airports I’m used to, like Memphis, Atlanta, and especially Newark. After the smooth flight, we land around 4 pm, and all we have to do is nab our rental car, and we are good to go.
We should have known better. It turns out rental car companies have this policy that neither they, nor Priceline, were kind enough to point out, that even though a rental car can be paid for in advance, you still need a credit card on you for security purposes. My dad and I both don’t have one, and the rental car associate told us they needed one. We explained that not only did we pay in advance, but we were not told we needed a card on file, but she didn’t relent. She wouldn’t give us the car. My dad is quietly fuming, while I’m in total shock. Additionally, since I’m not 25, I can’t use my debit card, either. What’s worse, they wouldn’t even let my mother tell them her credit card info over the phone. My favorite quote came from the associate, when we asked what our options were, she coldly replied, “Well, nothing, really.” There was no way we were going to use a taxi, we had too much to do in 2 days in Dallas. Eventually, we were able to secure a new rental car, but it’s ridiculous how tight-assed they are about credit cards. They should know not everyone has one.
Traffic was INSANE, and not the good insane, but the idiotic insane. We had no idea when we planned this trip that the Texas Rangers would be in the World Series. We also had no clue that Rangers Ballpark is literally minutes from Cowboys Stadium. Moreover, we had no idea Six Flags Drive actually had a Six Flags on that particular street. Thus, I was slightly perturbed by the amount of congestion around the Arlington area. We were lucky to find a spot in the hotel parking lot. The entire area was bustling with people, at least half of them drunk or about to be.
After we settle in, we head to a local Wal-Mart and grab some supplies (shirts, souvenirs, etc.), and we see the stadium coming up in the distance. I was initially disappointed, as I expected this monstrosity even from afar. Well, the closer we drove, the more impressive it was becoming, until we were right upon it. It is immense, the amount of detail to the structure and to the surrounding area. Pictures do not justify my claims, merely enhancing my fanboy blabbering.
Game-day arrives, and my dad and I are dressed in our best garb. We arrived at the stadium early, so we could walk around the Dallas Palace and take pictures of anything interesting (and trust me, there was a lot). We were just killing time while we waited for our contact to…contact us. See, I bought the tickets for both my dad and me as a combined birthday deal, but my uncle knew a guy in the stadium who could get us special admission. Originally, I thought this meant lower level seats or locker room access. I was happily disappointed when I heard the following words: Jerry Jones VIP Suite. This guy, our contact (let’s call him “Dallas throat”, like “Deepthroat”) was able to get us into this ground-level suite where the players come out of the tunnel, a spot where we can shake hands with the players, or get autographs or FREAKING AWESOME PICTURES. We were so close to the players’ sideline bench, we could have conversations with these guys. We tried desperately to get autographs, but to no avail. Thankfully, the gods decided to intervene in our favor, as not only did I get to high-five All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware, touch kicker David Buehler’s helmet, but my dad and I shook owner Jerry Jones’ hand. It was surreal, we called him over, and he was all smiles, doing his public relations thing, making the fans happy. I just can’t believe we actually shook his hand. At that point, I half-heartedly swore I would never wash that hand (I say “half”, since I knew I’d have to go to the bathroom at some point).
The game was hardly memorable. If anything, it proved the Wade Phillips Dallas team could make any mid-level player look Super Bowl ready. A 35-17 loss was barely gut-wrenching, because we could care less, as my dad and I took photos of everything imaginable. I focused more on the stadium and the up-close shots of the players, getting some great shots of Jay Ratliff, Dez Bryant, and even Wade Phillips, while my dad became an expert in Cheerleader photography.
As we left the stadium, my dad put his arm around me and said “Thanks, pal, I had a good time.” Unlike the Cowboys, at least we were able to walk away from the stadium triumphantly. I had been to a Dallas game before, back in 2005, when the Quincy Carter-led Cowboys lost 13-7 to the Aaron Brooks-led New Orleans Saints in Louisiana. That was my only claim to Dallas fame. Now, I have a much better claim.