You can almost taste it.
Its right around the corner. Only two weeks away.
I love week 3 of preseason. The teams are pretty much getting their acts together.
The last dress rehearsal for the starters. Everyone hoping to create some positives and get out healthy.
This past week I was vacationing in Dallas with my cousin, who attended her business convention. Since her company pays for our room and most food, I only had to pay for my flight and some sightseeing.
As luck would have it, her convention was held at the Gaylord Texan which is the official hotel of the Cowboys. The night before their home games, the Cowboys stay there. And during the preseason, their free agents and those without permanent housing, call it home until they officially make the team.
The first Cowboy I ran into was one of their coaches early Sunday morning. Now I am not going to mention any names here. He is an offensive coach who would wait in the lobby at 6 AM each morning to grab some players to take to practice.
At first, he just grunted when I recognized him. But more and more, through out the week, as I would wonder down to the Starbucks each morning to grab a coffee and the papers, he would open up.
By the third day, after noticing all the Dolphins T-shirts, he told me he knew quite a few of our players. Odrick, Wallace, Wake, etc.
I told him "Wake is a beast". He responded "Derek. You know his real first name is Derek."
You can assume a Pennsylvania connection.
That night I saw him at dinner with some players at the Hotel sports bar with a 50 foot HD TV screen and good food.
He pointed at one of the players he was dining with and said "He hates the Dolphins." I responded "Good. Then you'll over react and screw up by letting your emotions get the best of you."
They laughed. I wished them good luck and good health.
Throughout the week, they were in the gym working out but mostly grabbing dinner in the sports bar.
You could see the stress they were under and I had to remind them that very few people get to experience what they are going through at training camp and they should be very proud of themselves for getting this far, no matter what happens.
They all were very cordial and polite but there was this underlying uncertainty of their future
that they just couldn't hide. I told them all I would be watching for them on TV.
Come Thursday morning, I caught the coach and some players in the lobby around 6:30. I told them "You still have 24 hours to back out. Friday you fly to our neck of the woods."
Coach said "I was afraid I'd miss you this morning."
I told him "Nope, but we will both be leaving town soon."
I wished them luck and then said "Oh by the way, I won't be able to watch the game live on TV but when I see you on NFL Network's replay of the game, I hope you'll be screaming at one of your players for blowing the.game."
Then he said "Now I wished I'd missed you."
Today, I reffed 2 High School scrimmages in New Jersey. Tomorrow, another.
Yep. Football is back and soon enough, it will be for real.
Dolfan since 12/25/1971