Heroes and Villains

Texas fans have their heroes. They also have their villains. Just ask Khloe Kardashian’s whipped hubby, Lamar Odom. Or, Josh Hamilton.

What makes a Texas hero? Roger Staubach was a Texas hero. Sorry… Roger was a Texas Hero. The Tyler Rose, Earl Campbell, was a Texas Hero. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Dandy Don Merideth, Charlie Waters, Cliff "Crash" Harris, Lee Roy Jordan and a couple of stiffs named Bob Lilly and Randy White were all Texas Heroes. Tony DorSETT (wasn’t that DORsett, back in college at Pitt?) and Drew Pearson were Texas Heroes.

Brad Davis was a Texas hero. Rolando Blackmon, too. We still have a rosy feeling in our gut when we hear the name of Tyson Chandler. Derek Harper was one of ours… we’re still ticked at him for dribbling away our chance at an NBA Final, but, I don’t hear anyone booing him.

And, Mike Modano? Brett Hull? Jamie Langenbrunner? Anyone remember Tatu? How about Kyle Rote, Jr. (just to go back a long, long ways). Those guys … us Texans? We’re proud to call ‘em ours.

Bullet Bob Hays was a Texas Hero. Other than Hays, I don’t remember any of these guys ever getting booed. Certainly not like Josh and Lamar.

I do remember a smattering of boos for Bullet Bob later in his career. He set the standard for the modern receiver. He established marks for TDs per catch, yards per catch, punt return yards and others that weren’t even approached for 20+ years.

But, his tendency towards dropsy kind of got on some folks sleeves where they kept that exposed nerve. He was awesome. He was talented. But, sometimes, he didn’t take the ball with him when he went screaming down the field. The boos weren’t because the fans didn’t like Bobby Hays… they were because they wanted him to be aware he needed to do better. Then, the Dallas D.A. threw him in jail on some hopped up charges and … well … that’s a sad story all in itself.

DeMarcus Ware is a current Texas Hero. Dirk Nowitzki is a Texas Hero. Shoot! His little buddy, Steve Nash is STILL a hero to all us North Texans. And, he’s in L. frickin’ A. If there are any boos when he’s in the AAC, I don’t hear ‘em. Don’t hear boos for Tyson Chandler, either. Or, Jason Kidd-o.

We Texans love our heroes.

But, when we have a dog that ain’t huntin’? Best to shoot that sucker. He’s takin’ up valuable fixin’s from the dinner table. Not literally, of course. I don’t think Josh (or Lamar or A-Rod or Teixeira) need to ever be hurt… but, I think all those guys are aware there are large contingents of folks back here in North Texas that’d just as soon see those slugs retire.

Why is that? Other than Odom, these other guys gave us some great years and some wonderful memories. What would cause us to not like them and keep on likin’ the likes of Nash and Chandler.

It couldn’t be that they’re gone. Chandler wanted to stay a Maverick but The Plan hatched by our lovely, goonish Mark Cuban didn’t leave room for a defensive wizard. A bigger splash was needed. Nash, on the other hand, left chasing bigger dollars. But, we still love him. So, that’s not it.

Us Texans love our heroes. We defend ‘em. We honor ‘em. We adore them. But, there’s a few that are just considered villains. What’s that all about?

Why boo Josh Hamilton? Why even care about a guy like Lamar Odom that never gave us anything. Simple. They had the talent and they … didn’t … care.

Josh was so wrapped up in Josh that the very thought of not being a hero was repugnant to him. So much so, that he would flail at a pitch 2 feet beyond his reach rather than allow a slug like Adrian Beltre the opportunity to be a hero, too. Ranger baseball blog LoneStar Ball’s benmor78 had a quote that was so appropriate I could only pick my chin up off my chair: "When [Josh] saw one set of footprints in the sand it was because Josh was carrying Jesus."

Baseball is a team sport. When everything is working, it is the most beautiful of all games. When someone is a black hole and is continually all about what his role is and ignoring the context of others around him, it can get really ugly. If Josh takes a few of those pitches and lets another, legitimate superstar like himself in Adrian Beltre have a whack at that pitcher that refused to give Josh a shot at herodom, the next time around, Josh would have gotten a better pitch.

And, this time around, Adrian would be at the plate with another man on in front of him and one fewer out – if he got to the plate that inning at all since Josh’s out was, often, the final out of the inning.

Lamar Odom was a different animal altogether. He is so lost in the Kardashians’ world that he will never be his own man, again. The Mavericks were in a tailspin and we (Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson) were grasping at straws. And, they snagged one. And, it was one that had not only been serviceable, but had been a superstar almost of the caliber of Dirk Nowitzki. Well… maybe not quite, but … you know.

And, this guy quit on us. Absolutely. Without reservation. Crying in his woman’s lap. Quit on us. And, all our dreams flew out the window.

Texans don’t take very well to having their dreams tossed aside that casually.


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