Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our Trip to the DFW Marriott (aka the most fun I've had in years!)

One of my co-workers had attended the Cowboys/Rams game from two weeks ago and he told me that him and his family stayed at the hotel and that they had gotten some autographs. Of course being the hardest of hardcore, hard to the core, numero uno Dallas Cowboys fan, I immediately knew what my destiny was. I had to make the pilgrimage to the hotel and meet my heroes. So on Saturday, October 13th, Sarah, Devin, Pete, and myself took a trip to Irving to try and get some autographs. We first had to fuel up properly because we knew that we would need adequate energy to complete the task before us. We decided to stop at Mary's in Strawn for the best chicken fried steak in Texas, which of course means the best chicken-fry around. Of course we were all decked out in our finest Cowboys gear and everyone could tell we meant business. For $11.00 you get a chicken fried steak that is bigger than my head (3/4 lb to be exact), a pile of fresh-cut french fries, and salad. It was truly a meal fit for a king. We stuffed ourselves and then took our leftovers (yes, we actually all had leftovers), and headed to the DFW Airport Marriott, which is the host hotel for the Dallas Cowboys. We arrived about 4:45pm and there were already some people standing out at the fence near the players parking lot. The set up is that the players pull into a private parking lot that is blocked off to the public in their own personal vehicles. The players then park and go inside the hotel for the evening. When the players park, some of them will then walk over to the fence and sign autographs. So from the fans perspective, whenever you see an expensive vehicle coming down the street, you get excited anticipating who it could be! Then you run along the fence waiting to see which spot the car will pull into in the parking lot. Then you bumrush the fence and push woman and children out of the way and yell for your favorite player. Of course, not everyone signs but the ones who do were extremely friendly. Without further adieu, below are some pictures from our experience! (double click each picture for full size viewing)

Look at this chicken fry! It's huge!

Are you hungry yet? Mary's Cafe in Strawn, TX.

Andres and Pedro

This is when we had just arrived. We met some cool guy there from Florida and he took the pic. Pete's "got five" shirt has a pic of the Cowboys five Super Bowl championship rings on the back. Some guys came up to Pete and said they liked it. Then the guys says, "got five. Oh, that's like got milk." It was funny.

You can barely see, but if you look closely there is a guy right between those two arms. He didn't sign any autographs. People claimed it was DeMarcus Ware, but I never got a good enough look to confirm.

Here is Jason Witten. He drove up in the dark colored SUV and was just walking over to the fence. The silver SUV belongs to Brad Johnson, backup QB.

The crowd pressing in for Witten's autograph. I had already gotten it, so I was kind and slid back to let others in.

Witten again. That's Devin and some black guy. They have the same hat.

I really like this pic. Devin, Pete with the short hair, and Sarah pressing in to touch the hem of Witten's garment.

Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar. On the ends of the parking lot the fence is only waist high.

Nick Folk, the hero from the Buffalo game.

Julius Jones just getting out of his Ferrari. The enormous grey truck next to him is Leonard Davis'. Enormous truck for enormous man, I guess.

Julius Jones up close and personal.

Linebacker Kevin Burnett. He only signed for kids. I can understand that. I'm lying - stupid kids.

It's Ken Hamlin! In the dark some of the players are hard to recognize. And some players people just don't know who they are. Everyone was calling this guy Patrick Crayton, then I saw his face and I shouted to him, "Nope. I know you, you're Ken Hamlin!" He smiled at me. I can die now.

That's Sam Hurd over there. Giving you a sense of the mob you have to push through.

WR Sam Hurd #17.

Big Leonard Davis grey truck along with some other vehicles.

Mat McBriar again. He was actually pretty big for a punter.

Kicker Nick Folk from a distance. I think that is my shoulder in blue. Pete took the pic.

Tony Romo.

TE Anthony Fasano. He was another player that I was the first to recognize.

Ken Hamlin

More Ken Hamlin. Can you ever have enough?

This is Brad Johnson emerging from his car. He didn't sign though.

Jason Witten just got out of his car! I can't explain how excited I was at this point.

Witten looking confused. Witten was really cool. Even though he is one of the biggest names on the team, he probably stayed out there signing longer than anyone.

Ken Hamlin

We ran out of film, but we still met some other cool Cowboys. At about 10:00pm all the parking spaces in the lot were full, so everyone out there pretty much left. Most of the people there were staying at the hotel, so they went inside. We retreated to our vehicle were we had brought sandwiches. While munching near the rookie parking lot, Devin spotted some guys going to their cars to leave. We quickly hurried over and met rookies Doug Free and Deon "Cricket" Anderson. Anderson was especially cool. He shook our hands and talked to us for about 5 minutes. Unfortunately we had no more film. We then made our way back to the fence, just in case any more Cowboys straggled out. Sure enough, we got to meet Remi Ayodele and Jacque Reeves and no other fans were out there but two other people. I am sure everyone is wondering where the big names were. We did see T.O. get out of nice car, but he had someone else park it. He didn't sign but he waved when everyone was yelling and then quickly went inside. Never saw Romo or Roy Williams. DeMarcus Ware, I am still not sure about but they claim that was him in the earlier pic, but I don't know for sure.

Here are all the autographs I was able to get on a really nice football:
Mat McBriar, P, #1
Sam Hurd, WR, #17
Julius Jones, RB, #21
Evan Oglesby, CB, #23
Deon Anderson, FB, #24
Ken Hamlin, FS, #26
Jacque Reeves, CB, #35
Doug Free, OT, #68
Cory Procter, C, #71
Jason Witten, TE, #82
Jay Ratliff, DE, #90
Remi Ayodele, DT, #92

If you ever come over I might let you see it for a fee. As for holding it and touching it, you don't have that kind of money.