I attended Dallas Cowboys training camp wearing my Donovan McNabb Eagles jersey.
Now, for those of you not well versed in NFL football, The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles have a very intense rivalry. Not a friendly "rah-rah" rivalry. An "I forbid you to marry that Cowboys fan" rivalry. A rivalry whose flames were fanned further when Terrell Owens joined the Cowboys in 2006. Owens, a former Eagle, famously spent the 2005 season throwing a hissy about his contract and slandering Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, throwing the locker room into disarray and getting himself suspended for insubordination. At the end of the season he was cut from the team and the Eagles immediately sued to reclaim a large portion of his salary. When the Cowboys signed Owens in 2006, it was widely thought to be as much a stab at their rival as a move to improve the team by adding an (admittedly) great player.
THAT kind of rivalry.
When I informed my father of my plans, he called me an "idiot" and asked if I had any final requests regarding the manner of my burial. I told him that I thought it would be interesting and that I'm sure everyone would take it in good fun. Once again, parents are always right. It started with the parking guy, who judiciously took my $10 before asking "Are you sure you want to go in there?"
As soon as I passed through the gate onto the grounds, I was surrounded by approximately 2000 people sporting blue Cowboys gear, at least half of whom wore Owens' #81. The way they eyed me, I felt like Tweety Bird when Sylvester looks at him and pictures a roasted turkey. When I got to the spectator area next to the practice fields, I unobtrusively took up residence against a tree. I actually managed to avoid detection for a while, and even struck up a conversation with a Cowboys fan from Philadelphia, which should be rarer than a four-leaf clover, but isn't. Cowboys fans, like dust mites, are everywhere and impossible to get rid of. Finally, one yahoo spotted me and screamed, "TAKE IT OFF! TAKE OFF THAT JERSEY, McNABB! MAKE HIM TAKE IT OFF!" At that point everyone took their attention off the field and looked at me. I briefly allowed myself the thought that I would have the dumbest obituary in human history. Screamy guy then started an "Eagles Suck" chant that was immediately joined lustily by every single one of the other 2000 people there. I don't know if you've ever had 2000 people scream at you at the same time, but in a weird way it makes you feel powerful. I blew kisses to the crowd and then made the "orchestra conductor" motion with my hands as their chant of death continued. Soon enough they wore themselves out and kind of collapsed all together in chuckles. One merchandise-clad fan turned around and complimented me on how I handled myself. I said, "Lady, there was only one way to handle myself. When it's 2000 against one, the only way out is to make them laugh."
My new best friends and I watch practice. The Usurper (AKA Terrell
Owens) is the one in the girly dancing tights.
That was the "highlight" of the day, but I heard plenty of amusing and threatening comments. A sampling:
- "Man, that guy's got a death wish."
- "You appear to be lost."
- "Decided to come see what a real team looks like, eh?"
- "What kind of balls is that, to wear an Eagles jersey to Cowboys training camp? If I didn't know there were cops here, I'd clock him in the face right now."
- "Somebody get a rope so we can string up this Eagles fan from a tree!"
- First guy: "Take that jersey off!" Second guy: "Nooo! Do you want to see that body shirtless?"
- Yelled to Owens as he passed by: "TO! TO! We got a guy in a McNabb jersey here!"
All in all, a charming lot. One of the security guards, who got a kick out of the whole thing, told me that a Raiders fan had attended practice earlier in the week and needed to be escorted out by the police for his own safety after shooting his mouth off. "Well, he's a Raiders fan," I said. "The police escorted him out because they recognized him."
To add insult to injury, I had forgotten to bring sunscreen. It was approximately 137 degrees, and the sun bleached my hair even blonder while crisping my face, neck and scalp to a healthy fire engine red. I look like a damn tomato wearing a straw hat.
It's all the Cowboys' fault. I just know it.