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My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It

Those who know me best are well aware of my proclivity for sporting events and country music. Give me a good ball game and some classic country tunes and I’m set for the duration. My long ago college days at the University of Houston produced more than an educational degree; it also planted the seeds

Those who know me best are well aware of my proclivity for sporting events and country music. Give me a good ball game and some classic country tunes and I’m set for the duration. My long ago college days at the University of Houston produced more than an educational degree; it also planted the seeds of a life-long Dallas Cowboys fan and a love of country music, the ‘twangyer’ the better.

Now, I am well aware that there are many of you out there who do not subscribe to the “America’s Team” moniker so aptly applied to the ‘Boys from Big-D.’ I would venture a guess that the Cowboys and the New York Yankees are the two teams in sports where there is no middle ground among fans. You either ‘love em’ or ‘hate em’; that’s just the way it seems to be.

Those sharing the later view may take some semblance of joy knowing, like the 1949 Hank Williams hit song, when it comes to the Cowboys, ‘My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.’

My love of the Cowboys has been passed down among several members of the Lowery family tree. A few times over the years we have traveled to Philadelphia when The Boys were in town. But those games were a bit stressful. Being Dallas fans at an Eagles game brings with it a great deal of risk for self preservation. At those times I would tell family members not to wear Cowboys gear or openly root for fear of reprisals.

After the last such visit a few years ago my daughter, Denise, stated that it would be fun to go to a game in Dallas where we could really root for our favorite team. Somehow last Christmas Santa Claus got the message as there was a Dallas trip waiting under the tree. This past Thanksgiving week that gift was finally unwrapped and Denise, grandson Chase, Jean and I headed out for a Turkey week treat in Texas to check off another ‘bucket list’ destination.

It was an enjoyable family outing EXCEPT for the dreadful performance exhibited at Jerry’s World AT&T Stadium by those same Cowboys we had traveled so far to cheer for. It all started out so well. The Boys took the opening kickoff right down the field and led 7-0 before many of the 90,000 assembled faithful had settled in their expensive seats. However that most-forgotten New York State team located in chilly Buffalo showed absolutely no concern for our travel and rooting interests and absolutely hog-tied the Pokes with a dominating 26-15 put-down.

Yes indeed, bucket lists can provide wonderful memories but on this occasion mine surely had a hole in it.

I know that there have been several local folks who have made that same trip to Dallas to see a game. If anyone out there is contemplating a similar trip make sure your plans included taking a VIP Tour of AT&T Stadium. Nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth in Arlington, Texas the stadium tour is well worth your time and dollars. The cost is $32.00 with a Senior and child rate of $27.00. The tour itself took almost two hours and included many behind-the-scenes places you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see.

Included were the locker rooms of the Cowboys and the Dallas Cheerleaders, the press box, owner Jerry Jones’ office area, luxury suites, the Cotton Bowl archives area, a variety of meeting rooms, remarkable architectural features and the opportunity to set foot on the playing field surface. During about fifteen minutes on the field folks were permitted to take all kinds of pictures, including one adventurous fan who captured the moment on the goal post.

I personally found the press box tour quite interesting and informative. Unlike most every other stadium I have visited Jerry Jones chose to locate the press box in the end zone corner of the field. It was explained that his reasoning was that the media covering the game was being paid to do their job and Jones was providing them with free food and beverage while doing same. The press box is still posh and accommodating, it’s just not on the 50-yard line. Only the television both has that prime location.

The Cowboys magnificent home was completed in May, 2009 at a cost of 1.3 billion dollars and although it is often referred to as ‘Jerry’s house’ it is actually owned by the City of Arlington. The City paid $325 million, while Jones pays the rest including $2.25 million a year to ‘rent’ the stadium with a lease of 30 years.

In case you’re interested the deal also includes:

• Jones sold the stadium naming rights to AT&T for 1.2 billion for which he has to pay the City 5% per year (capped at $500,000).

• The Cowboys are required to play all their home games at the stadium for the 30-year lease period.

• Jones pays for all operating costs and receives all revenue, presumably for all events held at the stadium.

• He is required to pay $500,000 a year for 33 years for youth sports charity.

• After the lease ends, the Cowboys have the option to purchase the complex from the City for $100 million and they would receive credit for rent paid.

All told it was a great trip. We toured the Texas Book Depository, where JFK was killed, many fun and interesting shops and took a day-trip to Waco to visit the Magnolia Market and Baylor University. Indeed it was a fun family time together. If only I would have had the foresight to buy a new bucket while I was there. Thanks to those Cowboys I definitely need a new one!

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