Go behind the scenes with SI.com's Arash Markazi whoâs âOn The Scene,â writing a regular journal from anywhere and everywhere about anything and everything.
7/30/2006 04:01:00 PM
The Boys Are Back
There’s never a dull moment at Dallas Cowboys Training Camp.
To call the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp a circus wouldn’t be complete hyperbole.
Pulling into the mud parking lot, surrounded by dirt piles at the River Ridge complex, that may one day have a river ridge and complex, a giant inflated Cowboys helmet lets fans know they’re in the right place. As soon as you walk through past the helmet and souvenir selling trucks and through the sawdust covered entrance, you’re greeted by a five-piece country music band playing, “The Boys Are Back in Town,” on stage, as Cowboys Cheerleaders and Rowdy, the Cowboys mascot, mingle with fans. To the right is an Astroturf covered area called the ‘Cowboys Experience’ is set up where kids are able to go through Cowboy colored mazes, slides and possibly even throw T.O.-like tantrums if they like.
To the left, a two-tiered truck serves as a portable ‘Cowboys Hall of Fame,’ with all five Super Bowls and championship rings on display along with game worn jerseys, helmets and trivia games. Nearby, smaller trucks, serving as the ‘Cowboys Pro Shop,’ are parked attracting hundreds of fans to shell over anywhere from $2 for a team roster to $400 for a three-foot Terrell Owens bobblehead. The most popular item is the $80 T.O. replica white jersey, followed by his authentic white jersey which is going for $250. “Anything with T.O. on it is selling like hot cakes,” said one vendor, putting a smaller $20 T.O. bobble head and Owens’ new $25 book, appropriately named, T.O., into a bag for a customer. “He’s the most popular guy right now.”
After fans were finished buying merchandise, answering trivia questions, going through mazes, listening to live music, grubbing down on some authentic Tex-Mex food and taking pictures with cheerleaders, most of them probably made their way to five grandstands set up under tents to watch the Cowboys practice. On Saturday, the first day of Cowboys Training Camp, a record 10, 100 showed up for both the morning and afternoon sessions, beating the previous Oxnard record of 8,300, set two years ago. "This is a class organization," said Dr. Thomas Holden, the mayor of Oxnard. "It's a great event for us when they’re here." That being said, the team will be moving its training camp to San Antonio next year and won’t likely return to California anytime soon for its camp.
Jerry Porter is not a happy campyer, but that’s no surprise to ‘On The Scene’ readers.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
So Jerry Porter is looking for a trade, huh? That shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who reads this blog. I wrote that Porter was upset at the Raiders and Art Shell almost two weeks ago when I talked to him at a party in Los Angeles. In fact, he was positioning himself for a trade back then when he made it a point to tell me and another reporter that he was furious and wanted to be traded after the team passed up on Mike Martz as their next head coach and went with Art Shell, who hired Tom Walsh as his offensive coordinator. Neither has been in their respective positions since both were fired by the Raiders back in 1994. While Porter seems like a decent enough guy, I doubt he won over many fans by rocking Ted DiBiase’s “Million Dollar Belt” with no shirt on as he sat out the start of training camp looking for a trade. By the way the same belt Porter was wearing can be had for far less than a million dollars here.
- I was hanging out with a handful of NBA All-Stars this week for a commercial shoot that yours truly might be making a cameo in. While I have been sworn to secrecy until the ad drops this fall, I can relay a classic exchange that took place while we were waiting around on set.
“Have you guys been on You Tube?” asked player one. “It’s crazy, go on there and you’ll find everything. You’ll find every commercial you every did, every highlight you ever made, even stuff from your high school days.”
“Are you serious?” asked player two. “I got to check it out.”
“Yeah, it’s crazy,” chimed in player three. “You have to see the 720 dunk by the Air Conditioner.”
“His name is Air Up There,” said player four. “It was sick.”
“Yeah, if you have something to do, don’t go on You Tube,” said player five. “Forget about it.”
When a laptop was brought out and the players were shown the 720 dunk they all went crazy.
“You know if someone would have tried that in the league, they’d be taken out,” said player one. “Reggie Evans would have taken that guy out!”
- Vince Young took a lot of heat when he hired longtime family friend Major Adams as his agent out of college, but after signing a six-year deal that includes an option year that could be worth $58 million, with $25.9 million in guaranteed money, he doesn’t look so bad now. In fact after talking with a high-profile agent yesterday, it was probably the best hire he’s ever made. “I looked over that contract for a few hours, just to see how it was structured, and it’s impressive. He (Adams) might have taken a lot of hits, but he probably negotiated the best contract in the draft.”