The Singing Cowboy’s Suggestion

Several years ago I took Tex Boyd, the self-proclaimed last of the singing cowboys, to a football game. He had never been to a professional sporting event of any kind. He was reluctant to go, but I convinced him it would be fun. I purchased the tickets from the box office, and we slowly climbed the stairs and, with the help of an usher, we found our seats.

“Who is playing?” Tex asked.

“Dallas against Cleveland,” I answered. “Both teams are fighting for division titles. It should be a hard-hitting, slugfest.”

Immediately after kickoff, the crowd, which appeared to be evenly divided between fans of both teams, began yelling at the players, the officials, and even the men moving the chains.

“Kill him!”

“Hit him harder!”

“There’s no blood. He can’t be hurt.”

“That was a first down!”

Tex swiveled his head trying to locate the source of each yell. It was as if he was at a tennis match and sitting on the net.

“Cold beer!”

“Ref, you suck!

“Are you blind!”

“Hot dogs! Get your red hots here!”

Even when the crowd rose to their feet, Tex remained glued to his seat. He crossed his arms over his chest and endured the rest of the game.

We were among the last to leave the stands, when he asked, “Who won?”

I didn’t think he cared, but I answered, “The Cowboys won. When these teams play each other, the games are physical. Today was the most brutal one I’ve witnessed.”

“Why?”

“There were six casualties carried off on stretchers. Three for each team.”

He was reticent as we walked back to my car. Normally, he would be jovial and vociferous. Often, he would play his guitar and sing drawing a crowd.

“What’s on your mind, Tex?”

“I’m happy the cowboys won, but I am a bit offended.”

“How so?”

“I’ve been a singing cowboy all my life. I’ve tried to bring joy, happiness, and a few life lessons to whoever might listen to my songs.”

“You’ve done that.”

“I take offense at that team using the name Cowboys to promote such a violent game. I could hear the collisions on the field, and I feared the people in the stands were close to coming to blows against each other. I will never go to another football game.”

“I can understand your point, Tex. Do you have a suggestion for a new name?”

He rubbed his jaw. “Not off the top of my head.”

We walked past a rusty Ford pickup and heard the music blasting.

“Running Bear loved little White Dove with a love that wouldn’t die.”

“If the game promotes so much violence, perhaps they could call themselves the Dallas Snipers, or maybe the Conspirators.” He shrugged and began softly singing,

“Home, home on the range…”

“Tex, perhaps you and Blue Lightning should be the official guardians of the true legacy of cowboys and Indians.”

“…where the deer and antelope play.”

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