My Buddy Dallas — The Baddest Bull in the Ring Ever

I went to Cleveland Elementary School, and we won Norman’s unofficial  city championship in 1967 when I was in sixth grade.

We had some great players, including a kid named Dallas.  Appropriately enough, he wore a beat up old Dallas Cowboy’s helmet.

It looked like somebody had beaten it with different colored baseball bats and then run over it with a truck. 

The rest of us wore shiny new white helmets, with a black stripe down the middle, custom-made with electrical tape by our coach.

But Dallas insisted on wearing his Cowboys helmet. 

In pregame warm-ups, the other teams would usually smart off at him.

“Did you get that helmet at the the dump or the Salvation Army, hahahahahaha?”

Big mistake. 

See, Dallas was the most easy-going kid you ever wanted to met, but he loved that helmet.

So, on the first play of most games, especially if we started the game on defense, you’d hear a horrible KABOOM.

Like a bomb had gone off.   

Parents from neighboring fields would come running to see if their children were still alive.

Dallas would be standing over the kid who had smarted off about his helmet, and who he had just smashed. 

He wouldn’t say a word. He’d just smile. Then he’d help the woozy kid up.

Nobody hit like Dallas.  He was legendary in grade school football. But things changed the next year when we went to West Junior High.

The seventh grade coach didn’t know any of us, and he was not very good at spotting talent.

It was easy for me to get noticed because I was fast and had one hand. And maybe a big mouth.

I don’t think Dallas was even on the second team.  I suggested to the coach that we end the first week of practice playing “Bull in the Ring”.

Ever heard of that? 

It’s where you put one kid in the middle, and then everybody forms a circle around him.

The coach yells out a name at random, and that kid rushes toward the kid in the middle, who is the bull.

If you knock the other kid out of the ring, you become the bull. At least, theoretically. 

Because nobody ever beat Dallas.

Remember the cartoon about a big, red bull who smashed every other bull out of the field?  I mean, wayyyy out of the field?  

That was Dallas. 

A lot of young men lost their lives that day at West Junior High.  But Dallas won a starting job, so it was worth it.

And, yes, he was still wearing the beat up old Dallas Cowboys helmet that he so dearly loved. 

Those were great days.


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