Back in 2002, while working at the Randolph Wingspread at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, I was given a dream assignment.
Go cover Air Force Day at Dallas Cowboys training camp.
Being a lifelong Cowboys fan, this assignment seemed too good to be true. I took my credentials, camera, notebook, pen and voice recorder and drove down to the Alamodome.
Inside, I chatted with a few people and marveled how tiny the Alamodome was. This place is way too small to house an NFL team, I thought. At the time, rumors swirled around San Antonio that the city was trying to court the New Orleans Saints. They’d also expressed interest in becoming the new home of the Arizona Cardinals.
And then the players came in for practice.
I recognized many. Dat Nguyen. Chad Hutchinson. Darren Woodson. Quincy Carter, a tall granite statue with no body fat. And, of course, Emmitt Smith. Joe Avezzano, the then-special teams coach and Dave Campo, the then-head coach.
During my time there, I even got to briefly interview Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. I was nervous. I asked him what he thought it meant to the team to have the Air Force come to visit. He gave a nice response.
I took lots of photos and right as I was about to wrap it up, I thought it would be a great idea to go to Emmitt and get some comments from him. But before I could, they announced that that afternoon’s practice session had begun.