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He roots for the Dallas Cowboys in Houston: Why fans can't quit their favorite teams

He roots for the Dallas Cowboys in Houston: Why fans can't quit their favorite teams
From Emmitt Smith breaking the rushing record, to traditions like watching the Cowboys every Thanksgiving since 1978, I've been with America's Team. Photo by Rick Stewart /Allsport/Getty Images

I was recently back home in Chicago and came across an old family friend. We grew up in the 1970s together, and within a few minutes of seeing each other for the first time in over a decade, he asked, "Are you still a fan of those pathetic Dallas Cowboys?" A smile and an emphatic "Yes!" was my prompt reply.   

During my grade school years my favorite athlete was Tony Dorsett. This was considered blasphemy, as Chicago had adopted the late Walter Payton, known as "Sweetness," as their own son. At the age of 6, I can vividly recall the day when Dorsett set a school record at Pitt Stadium vs. Notre Dame, rushing for 303 yards. That total still stands today as the most yardage that the Irish have ever allowed on the ground to one player.

I just remember how fast Dorsett was with the breakaway speed. Many will automatically jump several years later to the Minneapolis Metrodome and Monday Night Football when Dorsett busted off a 99-yard touchdown run from the goal line vs. the Minnesota Vikings. I fell in love with the speed and his amazing vision.  

In the spring of '77,  the Dallas Cowboys selected Dorsett with the second overall pick (from Seattle), and my fandom of the Cowboys was solidified for life. By the way, in that trade, the Seattle Seahawks wound up with a no-name guard by the name of Steve August from Tulsa. Fast forward to that '77 season when, as a rookie, Dorsett blazed a trail and helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XII over the Denver Broncos.  

I remember thinking "Wow, before it's all over he'll have five rings!" As it turned out, that rookie year would be the only time Dorsett won a title, and it would also be the last Super Bowl that Tom Landry ever won, despite coaching for 11 additional seasons.  

Of course being a fan also means you have to endure the tough losses. The Dwight Clark catch in 1982 was haunting. (With under a minute to play in the NFC Championship Game against the Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana threw a high pass that was snagged in the back of the end zone by Clark, who caught it with his fingertips.)

The 44-0 loss to my hometown Chicago Bears in the '85 season at Texas Stadium was embarrassing, and, of course, the 34-31 heartbreak loss to the Green Bay Packers in January will probably take me a decade to get over.

Sometimes, you remember the losses and the games you "should have won" rather than the games you did win. Sometimes, you become simply blind in your desire to have players develop. I was the guy 15 years ago who thought Quincy Carter could play — that's pretty sad.  

However, from Emmitt Smith breaking the rushing record to glorious traditions like watching the Cowboys every Thanksgiving Day since 1978, I've been with America's Team, and I'll be with them through all of eternity. 

Ask yourself, "Why are you a fan?" Is it simply civic pride? I adopted the Houston Astros upon relocating here several years ago. I love the stadium and the way that Reid Ryan and management have gone about building a championship-caliber team with a core of young, hungry players. Sometimes you pull for certain stars or a young player who excites. It could be Springer or Correa, as I was hooked in by Dorsett some 40 years ago.

Do you adopt teams because of your older siblings or relatives? Do you simply become a fan to spite your parents? (I've known many to do that.)    

One thing's for sure: The best season on the sports calendar is upon us. Football is the air, with baseball's postseason not far behind. Whoever you root for, enjoy another amazing fall as a fan and never forget how your own personal fandom began with a player, team, or love affair with a city.

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Originally appeared on CultureMap.

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Braves beat Houston in extra innings, 5-4. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Marcell Ozuna hit his major league-leading eighth homer and Orlando Arcia’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

It completes a three-game sweep of the struggling Astros and is Atlanta’s fourth straight victory.

The Braves scored two runs in the eighth inning to tie it at 4-4. Michael Harris II started the 10th as the automatic runner on second and there was one out in the inning when Seth Martinez (1-1) intentionally walked Matt Olson.

Ozuna lined out to right field to send Harris to third base. Arcia then singled on a ground ball to left field to score Harris and put the Braves on top.

Pinch-runner Jake Meyers was on second when Kyle Tucker walked with no outs in the 10th. Meyers moved to third on a fly out by Yainer Diaz but Jeremy Peña grounded into a double play to end it.

A.J. Minter (3-1) got the last two outs of the ninth for the win and Raisel Iglesias earned his fifth save.

Reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. added his first homer of the season to help the Braves to the victory. Ozuna also leads the majors with 23 RBIs and he extended his hitting streak to 16 games, which ties his career best and is the longest active streak in the majors.

Yordan Alvarez and Mauricio Dubón both homered for the Astros, who fell to 6-14 and are last in the AL West.

There was one out in the first when Alvarez connected on his homer to the seats in left field to put Houston up 1-0.

Ozuna opened the second with his 432-foot shot to left field, which bounced off the wall and tied the game.

Acuña put the Braves up 2-1 when he sent the first pitch of the fifth inning to straightaway center field.

The Astros tied it on an RBI single by Alex Bregman in the fifth and Kyle Tucker’s RBI double came next to put the Astros up 3-2.

Dubón hit his first home run of the year off Jesse Chavez to start Houston’s sixth and push the lead to 4-2.

Harris singled to start the seventh before a ground-rule double by Austin Riley. Olson reached, and Harris scored on a fielding error by first baseman José Abreu when he couldn’t grab a routine ground ball.

There was one out in the inning when Riley scored on a sacrifice fly by Arcia to tie it at 4-all.

Houston starter J.P. France allowed four hits and two runs in five innings.

Max Fried gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings.

UP NEXT

Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a series against Texas on Friday night with LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 4.58 ERA) on the mound.

Astros: Houston is also off Thursday before ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night against Washington. The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

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