I can say with certainty that in the twelve years I have been running this site, the question I have been asked the most is, “how did you become a Redskin fan, living up in Canada?” I always answer unequivocally and without hesitation, “Well I hated the Cowboys. Then I loved the Redskins.”
That’s the absolute truth.
Things were MUCH different for young sports fans in the early 80’s when I was cutting my football teeth. Television coverage was sporadic compared to the broad array of options available to Joe Q. Public now. In a climate where there were only one or two football games a week available to watch, it seemed that the Cowboys were always on. I liked football, so I watched. The Dallas Cowboys were known as “America’s Team,” and even at 10 years old, I didn’t like them. At all.
They had a bunch of poopy heads on their team.
I came to like whatever team was playing Dallas. That’s an adage I still follow today. If someone happens to ask me what football team I like, I tell them that I like the Redskins, and whoever is playing the Cowboys. I don’t know how many times I have said it in my life. It isn’t to be cutesy, it’s just how my football brain evolved.
Ultimately as I learned about the game in that first year, I learned about divisions and what the NFC East was and that THESE teams played the Cowboys TWICE a year. I knew that there was a good chance my football allegiance lay somewhere in the NFC East by virtue of that fact alone. All of my other sports allegiances I was born into, or are to local clubs, but with no local option in the NFL for me here in Canada, I was a free agent.
So in 1981, I started watching football with more of an eye for individual teams as opposed to just watching. Late in November I believe it was, I caught the Cowboys vs Redskins game at a friend’s house who had a giant satellite dish. The satellite was a new experience, so watching a non-network broadcast football game was exciting territory for an 11-year old. That friend of mine was a “Cowboys fan”.
Or Richard I guess he prefers to be called.
It was on. Him versus me. Mano e mano. Okay, we were 11 – it was more like a little bit of mouthy jarring. We may even have snuck in some profanity in momentary absences of parental observation.
I took my first Redskins beat down that game. They hammered us to the tune of 24 or 25 to 10 or something. He kept saying, “The Redskins suck.” I kept saying, “Nuh-uh, the Cowballs do. Dick!!”
Some 30 years later, I have come to realize that all fans donning that stupid star are “Dick”s.
My Redskins fandom was born on that day. Oh sure, the draft that year, and the imminent rise of The Hogs was what rooted them in my soul; but it was that faithful day in late Novenber of 1981 when I first felt the coarsing rage of my burgundy and gold blood.
And of course I still hate them Cowboys today; probably even moreso, as my vitriol has gained focus.
Sure, I have friends that are Cowboy fans; but I consider it a tragic flaw in them, that I am willing to overlook. But not easily. Well actually, I can’t overlook it at all, so I guess that I “tolerate” or “put up with” it, is better phraseology.
Because even the ones that are my friends, are “Dick”s. Especially on Game Day.
I have a house rule that nobody EVER wears Cowboys garb in my house. Of any type. This has been exercised on several occasions… usually if a friend brings another new friend along to watch the game. It isn’t pretty, and usually goes something like this…
Me: “You can’t wear that in my house.”
Them: “HaHa. You hate them Cowboys huh?”
Me: “This isn’t a joke. Did I stutter? Take that crap off.”
Them: (to friend who brought them) “Ha. He’s kidding right?”
Me: “If you don’t have a shirt to change into, then you can sit here shirtless, go get another shirt, or I will see if my girlfriend has a smock for you, but you can’t wear that crap in my house.”
At this point, they either leave, or change. Nobody has ever opted for the smock. Which is good because I wouldn’t know a smock from a sock, but what I do know, is that you can’t ever come into my house wearing a star.
For some reason, no one that has ever actually stayed after removing said Cowboys gear, has ever been very boisterous or annoying during the game. Regardless of result.
Tossers. Every one of them. Even my friends.
On Game Day anyway.
Because at the end of the day…
I just hate them Cowboys.