I was born and raised in D.C., and when football season came around it was all about the Washington NFL team. When I joined my crew in the alley for a little football, we would imagine we were players on that team. The only thing we had to sort out was which player each of us could claim.  There was no TV in our neighborhood, and if even there was, only one sport was being covered and that was baseball.

As years passed and TV coverage became available, I found myself splitting my loyalties between the Washington NFL team and the Baltimore Colts. There was a moment at a Colts game when I stubbed my toe, so to speak. I had spent a few years in L.A., and had befriended some of the Rams players. My closest friends among the Rams were Dick Bass and Deacon Jones; we golfed together and spent a little time over cocktails together. On the day in question, I was sitting in the Colts press box with my Pop watching the Colts and Rams when Dick broke through the line and headed downfield. I sprang to my feet and shouted, “Go Dick!!”

Needless to say it was an embarrassing moment.  Every eye in that press box was turned in my direction and I didn’t detect any love.  Pop wasn’t feeling me either.

However, through the years my allegiance to the Washington NFL team never wavered. I began to feel a little betrayed when it was so loudly reported that the team would not recruit a colored player. After enough pressure they drafted Ernie Davis, who was traded to Cleveland for Bobby Mitchell. Soon, along came Charlie Taylor and the homeboys started to roll. 

Mention of the Dallas Cowboys could provoke a fist fight. Over the years I have had to deal with different emotions towards the Cowboys.  I hated Roger Staubach and Bob Hayes—they were too good, and at the time the Washington NFL team was playing mediocre football.  I rooted for the success of Hershel Walker and Tony Dorsett while still entertaining my hatred for the Cowboys. I always wondered how Dallas could get that caliber of player in the draft while Washington was sleep walking.  Too Tall Jones was pancaking the opposition like they were marionettes, and I rooted for Randy White because he went to Maryland.

I was comfortable with my dislike for the Cowboys until Tony Romo spoiled things. It was a rainy night after a game.  The Cowboys had lost big and Romo had taken a beating. On his way home, he passed a car with a flat tire. There was an elderly couple in the car and Tony licked his wounds, sucked it up and changed the tire. He never gave his name, but the man recognized him and blew the whistle to the press. I had new respect for Tony.

Still, when the Cowboys suffered a 1-15 season, I had no sympathy—especially when their one win came against Washington.

My spouse is a die-hard fan of the Washington NFL team. She bleeds burgundy and gold. Mention of the Cowboys would raise her blood pressure a few points, but as they say, “things change.” This season, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott is at the helm and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott is toting the rock, so Ms. L is wearing a blue and white smile on her face. There is still a tiny corner in her heart where she keeps her support for Washington’s team, but other than that, it’s Cowboys all the way.  I have to admit I climbed on board that bandwagon, too. I guess I am just a fickle fan.

Tim Lacy

Special to the AFRO