Bucket List I never knew I had - Part 1

Do you have a bucket list? You know, a list of things you want to do before you die? They made a movie about it, with Jack Nicklaus and Morgan Freeman. 2 elderly men in failing health set out on a world wide adventure to cross things off a list that one of them had spent a lifetime making. And while I cannot recall all of the things they did off hand, I do remember that the last thing on the list was to see something majestic. And they did.

I have had a bucket list too, a whole litany of things I would like to do before my time on earth ends. I have been fortunate enough to cross a few items off, like auditioning for a commercial or going to Seattle. Other moments, like skydiving or trying stand up comedy, have yet to come. However, what I have found is that my own bucket list is fluid, and often I do not realize that something was on it until the moment actually arrives. That was the case this past weekend.

The idea started simply enough. Tiffany and I wanted to get away for a weekend. Stresses of every day work and life had worn us out and we needed to unplug for a few days. We began bouncing suggestions off of each other about where we could escape too. Myrtle Beach? Florida? Maine? Texas?

Dallas, Texas?

Hmm, Dallas......

We had both been there before. I had passed through on my road trips to Tucson. Little Red has an awesome story about using the bathroom in the locker room at Old Cowboy Stadium when her Dad took her there. But cold we really pull this off? Driving to Dallas and back in three and a half days?

We looked at each other an smile.


We booked our rooms.

Last Friday afternoon our adventure started. My wife and myself, along with her cousin Susie and our sons Tanner and John-Michael (Ben had no interest and wanted to stay with his Mom) loaded our gear into a rented minivan and headed out about 4 pm.

Tiffany and I took turns driving toward the Lonestar State. I got us through Nashville, then took a nap as she guided us through Memphis and into Arkansas. I took back over and guided us into Dallas. We arrived at the hotel near Lake Ray Hubbard in Rowlett, Texas about 9 am, and the hotel manager was gracious enough to let us check in early. Even though we were all beat from the trip, it was not time to crash yet. No, the day was just getting started.

After freshening up, we headed to AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Are we fans? No. As far as the NFL goes, we are Bengals fans tried and true. But the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott from our beloved Buckeyes, and we have heard that JerryWorld was something to behold.

And it is.

The first thing you notice about this place is how clean it is. Not a stain on the carpets, not a nick in the drywall, not a scuff in the paint, not a speck of dust in the place. The tour was incredible. From the 11,260 square foot TV that hangs over the field to the press box, from the ring of honor to the Cowboys and Cowboy cheerleaders locker rooms, we got to see behind the scenes of the stadium. Did you know it can become and open air stadium in 15 minutes? Did you know Jerry has a personal elevator and  man cave in the stadium? Did you know they have 300 luxury suites and 5 grand ballrooms? Did you know their lockers costs $9000 each? I could go on, but I haven't even gotten to the best part.

At the end of the tour they let us go on the field. Well that's an understatement. They let us loose on the field. We had our picture taken on the star. Tanner and I ran from the 50 yard line into the end zone and back. And then we saw a guy selling footballs.My oldest son purchased one. And in the next few moments, we lived the first of several Bucket List moments none of us knew we even had.

John-Michael, Tanner, and I played football on the field of AT&T Stadium.

Let me repeat that so it can sink in.

John-Michael, Tanner, and I played football on the field of AT&T Stadium.

For almost and hour we threw passes, ran corner routes, and spiked the ball in the end zone. I forgot how good of an arm JM really has until that moment, and was proud when one of the other people (there were a few dozen people doing the same thing) said "wow" when John threw his errant pigskin back to him from 40 yards away. Right on target. Perfect spiral thank you.

Not bad for a pizza maker.

More than once I stopped to look around at the vast stadium that surrounded us. So big and intimidating. And the field that seemed to be a mile long. Lots of people around us equally excited to be there. Yet in those moments, it was just me and my boys. Making memories they will never, ever forget.

There is so much more to chronicle about our weekend trip. Several more amazing stops during this whirlwind adventure, including more before the day ended Saturday and several from our stop in Nashville. And while I would love to share them all now, that would make this post incredibly long. So instead, I will pick up where I left off tomorrow and share more about Bucket List items I never knew I had that we crossed off this weekend

Day # 1186. I have sat down to write many times in the last couple months, only to not truly find the inspiration to put a post together. But this weekend, with my awesome wife, my amazing kids and our terrific cousin Susie provided all the motivation a guy could need. It is so good to be me.


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