It was a dream come true. I met the Dallas Cowboys a couple of weeks ago. I have been a fan of this team since I was 10 years old; I do not miss a game on TV and I try and get to see them play live at least once year. My closet looks like a locker room, my truck is named Witten (after tight end Jason) and I named the dog Romo (for QB Tony). I have loved this team through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have seen them win three Super Bowls and I am eagerly awaiting for them to get back to the big game.
I always see the Cowboys play the Minnesota Vikings
because the Metrodome
, aka Mall of America Field, gives wheelchair patrons the option of sitting up high or on the field. Well, I choose the field, maybe 30 feet away from the Cowboys bench. I have been tempted to wheel over there, but security is watching, and turf is hard to wheel on.
Before the most recent game started I met Skip, the running backs coach and Shannon, the team’s social media guy. I even got a shout out on Twitter
during the game as being the only cool fan in that section wearing a Cowboys jersey. I met a father and son from Canada who had field passes -- I was envious. The dad later told me he knew Jerry Jones (Cowboys owner) and that's how they got on the field. It was almost time for the game to start when the dad brought Jerry Jones over to see me. I was shocked and excited. This man explained to Jerry that I was huge fan and he had seen me at a lot of games and if he could just come over and say hi. I had him autograph the program the Vikings staff gave me. It was a surreal moment.
The Cowboys won this preseason game and I think that was the first time I have seen the Cowboys win at Mall of America Field. Hopefully a good omen for this upcoming season. When we leave the field we have to catch a freight elevator to bring us up to street level. This elevator is in the same tunnel the Cowboys come down to catch their bus. That's when I got to meet MY DALLAS COWBOYS
It’s harder to recognize my favorite players when they don't have a jersey on. I was able to get my book signed by anyone I asked. Even Calvin Hill, a former running back for the Cowboys in the early 70's and basketball player Grant Hill's Dad. I had a goal to get some football cards signed – Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Demarcus Ware. Players come down in shifts and they all looked so handsome in their suit and ties, a rule Coach Jason Garrett implemented when he took over as head coach. It's a rule I like.
came down the tunnel and came over to me right away and I asked if I could have my picture taken with him. He said of course you can, but how about a picture with a Super Bowl ring on? Before I knew it he slapped his Super Bowl ring ON MY FINGER!! All I remember saying was OH MY GOD!!! It was awesome, heavy too. He had a tight grip on my hand. Understandably so. I wasn't going anywhere with it. We talked a little bit about me coming to Dallas and he encouraged it.
Next up was Demarcus Ware
. He is a beast on the field, but a huge teddy bear in person. He came down with Victor Butler and I asked D-Ware (that's what the fans call him) if he would sign my card. He had to tease me a little bit first. He said depends, who's jersey do you have on (knowing full well I had his jersey on)? I said yours! He's like OK then, I can sign it and he winked at my dad. I asked for a photo and Butler was going to leave and I said no, you get in the photo too. It's by far one of my most favorite photos ever.
came back down and we got his attention; he was super nice. I got him to sign my rookie card a few years ago, but got out another card for him to sign. Asked for a quick photo and he was on his way.
is usually last to come out. At first he didn't hear me when I yelled out Romo, so I switched it up and called him Tony and looked up said sure when I asked for a autograph and photo.
We thought that was everyone so we have the Viking worker get the elevator pushed. Just then the guy from Canada said Coach Garrett was coming and he approached me. He was quick to shake my hand right away and introduce himself and ask me who I was. Apparently my handshake was a little too wimpy for his liking. I wear a lot of rings and have tiny hands so I'm not one to shake hands real firmly, but Coach Garrett is all business when it comes to a good, firm handshake. He said, now lets try that again. I'll admit, it was a hand crusher. I'll know for next time.
This was all simply a dream come true. A dream that wouldn't have been possible without the great staff at Mall of America Field. The Vikings staff have always been great, from Chuck the guy that is in charge of accessible seating and greets you at the main gate to take you in, from the people that take us to the field and back up. Too often we write about the negative when it comes to accessible issues and rightfully so, but we also have to take time and praise those that do it right too. And everyone at Mall of America Field does it right.
Last, I want to thank the Dallas Cowboys, Coach Garrett and Jerry Jones for taking the time to meet me. Every member of the team I met that night showed class, character, and kindness. I am proud to be a Dallas Cowboys fan, and I proud to have these men playing for my team. I'm still beaming from that night and probably will be for a very long time. By far one the best things to ever happen to me. It'll be hard to top this.
For more photos from the game you can check them out here.
© 2011 Kristina Allen