4th and 1

Game days are a nervous time. Players sit reflecting on their assignments as coaches frantically check every nuance of the game plan for glitches. Fans wring hands and fidget at the coming event as if they are making their debut with the team. Leave it to Jerry Jones to add a little spice to this Saturday nights contest.

The rumors are flying about a certain owner of a Dallas football franchise having a clandestine meeting with Bill Parcell's. The subject of that meeting is still speculation, but a three-hour conference along with another two-hour gabfest on Jones' plane makes for great game day copy.

The rumormongers are weaving their fabric of innuendo suggesting Parcells would be the head coach, or GM or a little of both, of the Dallas Cowboys. A shocking fact that sends tremors through the ranks of the league, press, and fans alike.

Anyone following the career of Bill Parcells should immediately know he is a mirror image of Jimmy Johnson. A tough coach that demands discipline from all his players and staff. He sets the bar and then watches his flock, making certain they meet his expectations. He is not one to mince words or take a P.C. position. The phrase "My way or the highway," comes to mind. A return of the asthma field.

The idea that Parcells would come to Dallas is shocking. The notion it would be for any purpose other than to run the team from the catbird seat is preposterous. There is no room in Parcell's world for playing second fiddle to Jerry Jones. He will be calling the shots if this rumor produces fruit. Parcell's would be coach and GM.

But what can be expected if the "Big Tuna" were to come to Dallas. Heads would roll, is the picture I have in mind. Gone would be the slacker, mal-content, and inept as Parcell's cleaned house.

Names like Flozell Adams and Solomon Page would make the short list of slackers that would be finding new digs. Troy Hambrick would go the way of his brother in this franchise and Antonio Bryant would learn patience and to keep his mouth shut. Tony Dixon and Dwayne Goodrich would find themselves seeking employment elsewhere. Presumably out of football. Once again life would be sweet in Big D.

On the field the team would be disciplined and play an old style of smash mouth football. The running game would be featured and the team would closer resemble the teams of Jimmy Johnson in size and power. Ball control and penalty free are the hallmarks of a Parcells team.

Phil Simms related a story about Parcells once that needs to be noted. As the players were taking the field for a practice, Simms was a straggler and at the back of the pack. Parcells started in on Simms, lambasting the quarterback that had won the Super Bowl the year before. In front of the entire team he was chewed for not hustling out to the practice field. Simms took the berating in silence and then the practice began.

Later in Parcells office Simms questioned the coach. Why would he call out his quarterback in front of the team? And his point was so minor, couldn't it have been said in private instead of making an issue out of it in public.

Parcell's said this. "If the lowest player on the team sees me chew your butt, the best player on the team. Then think of the effect it will have on him."

At this stage Bill Parcell's to Dallas is just a rumor. The source is now reporting no contract offer was made. I doubt Jerry would spend five hours in New York talking with one of the more effective coaches over the last two decades without some football purpose in mind. The scenario of a second meeting suggests either a second effort to persuade or a second round of negotiations. But it will be two weeks before this rumor will either be squashed or given legs to run. Dallas still has the Eagles and Redskins to think about.

In any event, the excitement level just redlined on a Saturday afternoon when all that was on the horizon was the feared Philadelphia Eagles. I think Jerry wouldn't have it any other way.

Heroes Are Hard To Find
In a cynical world where the bottom line is usually the bottom financial line, there aren't many blue-collar heroes. At least not on a national radar screen for all to see. The Everyman that toils away in obscurity, doing noble deeds for other people rather than himself.

A man passed away recently that will be unknown to all but a few that spend time on this site. Unless you are from the small Texas town where he lived, you probably never heard of him. But for three decades W. H. Rainey coached and advocated baseball for kids in Denton, Texas.

He was a simple and gentle man that always had a smile and a joke for whomever his life touched. And he touched more lives than most of us with his love for the sport of baseball.

His boys have gone on to do great things with their own lives and W.H. was a significant role model that taught them fair play and perseverance. A role model that wasn't motivated for money or glory. But a man inspired by his ardor for a ball, glove, and bat

It's funny finding words of praise about a man that championed boy's baseball on a professional football site. But in life, true heroes are so seldom heralded for their deeds that perhaps this moment of celebration is worthy. The type of deeds and devotion to selfless causes that goes unrecognized in our lives, I might add.

I knew W.H. Rainey all my life. And while my feeble accolades can never truly convey how his efforts made it possible for boys to find and fall in love with team sports. I guess as one of the boys that enjoyed the fruit of his efforts, I will take W.H.'s advice and just swing away.

From all the boys of summer, thank you W.H. Rainey.

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