Tag Archives: Texas State Fair

Doubt creeps into thinking about resumption of sporting events

Oh, I do hate being a Negative Ned … but plenty of doubt is creeping into my noggin about whether we ought to resume sporting activities that occur in front of crowds.

Let’s consider a couple of things.

First, Tulsa, Okla., has reported a significant spike in the cases of COVID-19 after a political rally attended by about 6,500 spectators. Donald Trump went to Tulsa to restart his re-election campaign and now we hear about a surge in infection in that city and surrounding area.

Second, the Ivy League has just announced it is canceling all fall sports. No intercollegiate sports will occur in that conference. Why? Sports and school officials are concerned about infection coming from the pandemic.

The Texas State Fair canceled its 2020 event. The Big 12, though, plans to play the Texas-Oklahoma college football game anyway. They won’t pack the Cotton Bowl, but still the place will have plenty of fans.

Major League Baseball is going to restart its season soon, along with the NBA, the NHL and the pro football will start training camps soon. Some players are boycotting the season out of fear of getting sick. Others might follow.

I am just at the point now of worrying whether the risk is worth the reward.

We are hearing too many reports of “hot spots” springing up all over the country. Arizona is the latest place to receive the dubious designation of “epicenter” of the pandemic. Texas isn’t that far behind.

I express these doubts and concerns as someone who wants a return to collegiate football. My beloved Oregon Ducks are supposed to play a big non-conference game in Eugene on Sept. 12 against Ohio State. There is no way they can pack Autzen Stadium full of fans to cheer on the Ducks. I now am doubting whether it’s wise to even play the game.

I am now officially beginning to wonder whether the Ivy League has blazed a trail down which other athletic conferences should travel.

Pandemic forces State Fair cancellation

BLOGGER’S NOTE: A version of this post was published initially on KETR-FM’s website.

If this was the year you would try out some fried beer at Fair Park in Dallas … you’ll just have to wait until 2021.

The Texas State Fair isn’t going to occur this year. Fair organizers have canceled the annual event for the first time since the end of World War II; back then we were too busy celebrating the end of the bloodiest conflict in world history. This year’s cancellation comes – as if you need reminding – because we are in the midst of another struggle against the coronavirus pandemic.

This is absolutely, unequivocally and without question the correct call.

The State Fair is a gigantic public event, drawing millions of visitors to Dallas every year. They’re crammed along the fair midway, sampling this and that fare that passes for “food.”

The fair board said the 2021 event will occur Sept. 21 through Oct. 17. The Texas Tribune reports that 2.5 million spectators attended the 2019 fair. Given the social distancing rules governing outdoor venues this year, well, let’s just say the attendance would be significantly less than in recent previous years.

We shouldn’t complain about this cancellation. I am fully supportive of the decision.

According to the Texas Tribune: “One of the greatest aspects of the Fair is welcoming each and every person who passes through our gates with smiles and open arms,” said Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas, in a written statement. “In the current climate of COVID-19, there is no feasible way for the Fair to put proper precautions in place while maintaining the Fair environment you know and love.”

More from the Tribune: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement that he was saddened by the closure, but that the organization made the right decision.

“COVID-19’s spread is rampant in our community, and public health must come first,” he said. “We all have to do what it takes to slow this virus so we can save lives and livelihoods and get back to doing what we enjoy.”

I now will await the griping from those who contend the state’s “heavy hand” is denying Texans their God-given right to expose themselves and others to the deadly virus. Let ’em gripe.

What is not entirely clear, at least to me, is the status of the annual Texas-Oklahoma college football game, which occurs at the Cotton Bowl smack in the middle of Fair Park and during the State Fair. My hunch is that the game will proceed, although there might have to be some serious restrictions placed on the number of fans who will be able to watch the game. Big 12 officials say they intend to play football this season. Whether they do so in stadiums filled with fans remains a seriously open question.

Texas happens to be in dire straits at the moment as it fights the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to take great care as we move ahead with staging these athletic events.

As for the State Fair, well, let’s wait a year before we scarf down that fried beer.

Hey Democratic candidates for POTUS, come on down!

Hey, I understand the large field of Democrats running for president of the United States have been seen scurrying around the Iowa State Fair. They’re scarfing down alleged “fair food,” kissing babies, shaking hands, begging for votes.

Good for them. Good for Iowa, which kicks off the nation’s first electoral process leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

However, we’ve got a state fair coming up right here in Texas. The Texas State Fair commences in Dallas on Sept. 27. It runs until Oct. 20. They’ll play a big college football game — Texas vs. Oklahoma — during the run of the fair.

Oh, and Texas figures to be every bit as much of a “battleground state” in 2020 as, say, Iowa. And … our primary will be early in the election season.

Here’s my point. I want to see the Democrats pour into Texas just as they have done in Iowa, are doing so as well in New Hampshire and South Carolina, two other early primary states.

I live a bit north of Big D, but I just might find some time to venture to the State Fairgrounds before the fair closes down for the year. I want to see some of these folks up close. I want to hear with my own ears what they’re telling voters, how they’re pitching their candidacies.

Come on, candidates. Big Tex beckons you to the Texas State Fair.

What’s more, the fried beer is worth a try.

Getting set for the Red River Rivalry

Hey, they’re going to play a football game just down the highway from my wife and me this weekend.

It’s a pretty big game. They call it the Red River Rivalry, the annual game of blocking and tackling between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma.

This is the first UT-OU game my wife and will get to witness from something approaching an up-close location. No, we don’t have tickets to the Cotton Bowl. Indeed, we’re likely to steer clear of the venue over the weekend.

The State Fair is under way, too. The Big Game is part of the festivities. We attended our first State Fair just a few years ago, even though we’ve lived in Texas since 1984; we never found the time or had the interest in going until our granddaughter came along. So we took the DART train from Collin County and got off the train at the fairgrounds.

This year? No thanks.

I do, though, want to say a brief word about some of the talk I’ve heard in recent years about moving the game out of Dallas. I understand there’s been some chatter about moving the game west along Interstate 30 to the stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play football … in Arlington. There’s also been some talk about making it a home-and-home series: rotating between Austin and Norman.

Keep the game at the Cotton Bowl! During the State Fair!

Fill the stadium with half the fans wearing Burnt Orange and the other half wearing Crimson and White.

The venue is roughly equidistant between the UT and OU campuses, which makes it a “neutral field,” even though it’s in Texas.

I get that the Cotton Bowl — which opened in 1930 — lacks many of the amenities found in many of the newer stadiums. Still, the game played there is a slice of Americana that needs to stay put.

The Metroplex is going to be thrown into a frenzy no matter who wins this Red River Rivalry contest. It will be maddening to be sure. It needs to stay right where it is.

How ’bout them Arlington Cowboys?

ALLEN, Texas — Something’s come over me.

I am welcoming the new year with my son, daughter-in-law and their family watching a Dallas, ‘er Arlington, Cowboys football game.

Am I now going to become a Cowboys fan who cheers wildly whenever this team scores touchdowns or prevents the other guys from scoring? Is there a new year’s resolution in the making?

Uhhh, I doubt it.

That’s not the point of this brief blog post, however.

What often interests me is why this team is still called the “Dallas” Cowboys.

The team came into existence in 1960. Its first few seasons took place in the Cotton Bowl, which is on property where they have the Texas State Fair every fall. It also is smack in the middle of Dallas.

Then the Cowboys moved to Irving in the early 1970s. Irving is a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth.

After a few years in Irving, the Cowboys blew that stadium up and moved way over yonder to Arlington, where they play in that monstrous venue called AT&T Stadium; it’s also known more colloquially as “Jerry World” in honor of the Cowboys’ owner/general manager Jerry Jones.

I have had several friends over the years who have lived in Fort Worth. To a person they have bristled at the mention of the title “Dallas Cowboys.” It’s especially true these days, I reckon, given that Arlington sits at Fort Worth’s doorstep, about 25 miles or so west on Interstate 30 from Dallas.

One friend, who moved away from Fort Worth a number of years, refused adamantly to use the term “Dallas” when describing the NFL team. He would call ’em the “Irving Cowboys.”

I’m almost willing to bet a huge percentage of the fans who fill Jerry World on a given Sunday hail from places far from Dallas.

Does it really fit, therefore, to refer to this pro football team as being from Dallas? Just askin’, man.

Would the Cowboys’ owner fire himself … please?

I hate commenting on sports because I don’t know enough of the nitty-gritty to talk intelligently about it.

However, I do know bad management when I see it. It’s running rampant inside the head office of the Dallas/Irving/Arlington Cowboys professional football franchise.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1890803-cowboys-wont-find-success-before-massive-culture-change-in-dallas?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=cnn-sports-bin&hpt=hp_bn15

The team owner Jerry Jones also is the team’s general manager. He’s got his own TV show on which he blathers on about football strategy and other on-the-field things about which he knows next to nothing.

I haven’t been a Cowboys fan since Jones bought the team in 1989 and fired a living legend, Tom Landry, the team’s head coach since it entered the NFL in 1960. I used to like the upstarts from Big D, when they tried to knock the Green Bay Packers off in the late 1960s. They came close — and nearly froze to death in the Ice Bowl game played in Green Bay.

Then along came Jones. The former Arkansas Razorback hired his old Hog teammate Jimmy Johnson as head coach. After a spell, the two parted company because Johnson didn’t like the owner meddling in football strategy and tactics. Their friendship ended, too.

Now the Cowboys are languishing again. As the blog linked to this note observes, the Cowboys are known as one of the NFL’s best teams — on paper — but they are managing yet again to prove they cannot win consistently.

Yep, the Cowboys have won some Super Bowls since Jones took over the team. It’s looking, though, as if the next one is slipping farther and farther into the future.

Why? It has to be Jones. The owner is a smart businessman who made enough money to buy himself a professional football team that has moved from the Cotton Bowl at the State Fairgrounds in Dallas, to a new stadium in Irving and now the place nicknamed Jerry World way over in Arlington — which is a lot closer to Fort Worth than it is to Dallas. Take it from me, many of the folks in Fort Worth detest the reference to the Dallas Cowboys.

Jones may be an adequate owner. He needs desperately, however, to turn over the day-to-day management of the team to someone who knows what the bleep he’s doing.

That someone is not Jerry Jones.

Take a hike, big guy. Sign the paychecks, pay the bills and get the heck out of the way.