Sports rule Dallas/Fort Worth, and because of that, locals find themselves emotionally invested in and connected to the heroes of the court, gridiron, etc. While certain franchises -- which we shall not name -- have slacked on bringing home any championship rings recently, the unfailing adoration of fans is something Dallas does well. So who is your favorite DFW sports hero, and what does that say about you?
Bless your heart, you’re a really nice person. Ask anyone who has met you and they’ll point to your tremendous sense of humor and how down to earth you have remained your entire career. However, you also suffer from a bad luck streak a mile long. Every time you think that things are going to be OK, you get knocked down in the dirt again. Perhaps it’s time for you to stop walking under ladders holding black cats or whatever it is that you keep doing which has made you the target of the worst streak of bad luck that the universe has to offer. Seriously, we are worried about your physical well-being at this point. You've made your friends and family swear off saying "Dak" or anything that rhymes with "Dak."
As the Big German nears retirement having brought the Mavs their first title in 2011, he is currently ranked sixth on the list of all-time scorers in the NBA (Nos. 4 and 5 are some guys named Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan). If Dirk is your favorite, it’s probably true that, like him, you’re loyal to a fault. You turn down offers for big money and flashy rides to catch an indie rock show with your friends. You’re also not afraid to admit to enjoying guilty pleasures like David Hasselhoff. Pat yourself on the back, because it’s probably pretty hard to find anyone with anything bad to say about you.
A man for whom the word “flashy” was invented, The Playmaker has cleaned up his act quite a bit after a decade of tabloid-worthy exploits. If you consider yourself a Michael Irvin type of guy or gal, you definitely aren’t afraid to rock anything from a salmon pink silk suit to some serious pieces of diamond jewelry. You might not say the right thing every time, but you’re guaranteed to never be boring. You are quick to laugh, even at yourself. You also look forward to inclement winter weather just for a chance to hear Michael Irvin’s school closings announcements.
If you’re a Nolan Ryan fan, then just like your hero, you probably don’t suffer fools for too long. You like to wake up and seize the day, or rather put the day in a headlock like it was Robin Ventura charging the mound. You like to resolve problems in a very Wild West kind of way, because the only ongoing beef you like to have is your hot dogs. The Venn diagram of Nolan Ryan superfans and King of the Hill superfans features two completely overlapping circles.
You are the king of golf, or whatever the king-of-golf equivalent is at your accounting department. Like Jordan Spieth, you’re young and hot and have quickly vaulted from well-known to a small but dedicated circle of fans and supporters to internationally beloved Sports Illustrated cover boy. But just like Spieth, you must remember to retain your humility in the face of massive piles of money and attention being flung at you so early in life. You don’t want to end up going the way of the Tiger.
If retired Dallas Stars center Mike Modano is the kind of guy you’d like to sit down and have a beer with, that probably means that you are good at your job, yet always secretly thinking about how much better it would be if you were playing golf. Like your hero, you may have married a pop star and dated centerfolds, but now you’re just a laid-back dad with a love of craft beer (or maybe even one named after you, if you’re like Modano) who pops up at events when you have to, but mostly just watches SportsCenter and obsesses over tee times.
Sure, Pudge left the Texas Rangers a few times to run around with teams like the Yankees, Marlins, and even the hated Astros, but he was always a gentleman about it. Oh also, he was one of the best catchers in MLB history. If you consider yourself Pudge-esque, you should be proud of the fact that you are respected in a world where it’s easy for rampant love to turn into burning hatred. And in the end, you never forget your roots. Also, at some point, gawkers and fans have positioned themselves behind you while you’re working so they can “check out those buns!” So that’s gotta feel nice.
You won Dancing with the Stars. You started your own real estate company. You’re a tequila spokesman. You actually participate in your own charity bike races. Is there anything that you can’t do? You were the quiet workhorse who came up in a group of superstars. Even your Wikipedia entry describes your NFL career as, “consistently effective though not dazzling in style.” (Ouch.) But it doesn’t matter. Your modesty and work ethic have gotten you far and you don’t need to toot your own horn. You might not be as flashy as Michael, but people still get just as geeked out to meet you.
OK, so everyone else on this list has tons of rings and trophies and pop up on top athlete lists constantly. But what about the Danny Whites of the world? The nice guys who just so happen to have to follow in the footsteps of Roger Staubach. To be flanked on either side of history by Staubach and Troy Aikman seems an impossible task. But more than anyone else on this list, we are all Danny White. We try our best, though we may never be the superstar athletes in a town which is overflowing with them. But all we can do is do our best. When Football Jesus himself Tom Landry heaps praise on you, you know that you did something right, even if you don’t have a jam-packed trophy case or your own brand of hot dogs to show for it.
While all these big goofy football players try their hands at ballroom dancing, reality TV, and car dealerships, Madison Kocian of Plano was winning Olympic medals in Rio in 2016 as part of the fearsome “Final Five.” While overcoming injuries that would reduce an NFL linebacker to tears (broken tibia like woah), Madison, who trained under the tutelage of former Olympic gymnast and Allen resident Carly Patterson, proved her worth as a world-class athlete in Brazil. So the next time a group of dudes tries to out-flex each other, step up and ask to see their Olympic medals, Madison Kocian-style.
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Amanda Cobra is sometimes referred to as the Bobby Carpenter of local writers. Tease her about her hair on Twitter @amandacobra.