By Dave Walsh
Cowboy State Daily columnist
We have reached Game Week. And it’s not just us, not just we Cowboy Football Fans I mean. There are others who will see their favorites begin their much-anticipated seasons in a week.
But it is Game Week for the Wyoming Cowboys, and that’s what has my interest. The Pokes will kick off their season next Saturday in Illinois. Oh, I understand that other teams, even in the Mountain West Conference, are starting their seasons on August 27th.
Sure, Utah State will be hosting Connecticut in Logan, and UNLV will play Idaho State in the City of Lights, that same day. Nevada plays at New Mexico State, and Hawaii plays Vanderbilt that evening in Honolulu. I heard all that somewhere.
Doesn’t matter. The one game that will be played on College football’s Opening Day that has me held captive is that Wyoming versus Illinois, Wyoming versus the Big Ten, Wyoming’s first game of the season.
I’m finding that even though the situation is completely different, my personal feelings toward the upcoming Cowboy Football season really hasn’t changed. It’s just the approach to this particular season that has changed.
Generally, at least over the last 38 Cowboy Football seasons. the old Voice of the Cowboys would be in hot preparation. With the first game, and our first broadcast, just a week away, we were all in final preparations.
I was building spotter boards and compiling broadcast notes, and possible tidbits at the touch. The days during Game Week were spent with such busy work, the evenings were spent reading and studying the outstanding game notes provided by Tim Harkins and his great staff in the Wyoming Athletics Media Relations Department. I’d mix in a bit of print, broadcast, and internet info as part of the final preparation of Game Week.
I must admit that there will still be some Game Week prep still being done here, but not quite with the intensity of previous seasons. I still can’t help but want to know as much about any Cowboy game, but now my experience will be more from a fan perspective.
I also must admit that this will take of a bit of “getting used to”, but it’s also a different angle to take in Cowboy Football that I’m very much looking forward to. And it’s not just the challenge of keeping my mouth shut during the game that has peeked my interest.
I’m actually excited about watching and enjoying Cowboy Football without having to describe it. I can’t wait to let out a cheer, or sing Cowboy Joe, whenever I want. I’ve always cheered for the Cowboys anyway, but now it will be more acceptable I suppose.
I’ve always been quick to admit that I do have strong feelings for Cowboy Football, that I have not been just the Voice of the Cowboys, but I have been a fan too. And to me, that’s just been a case of stating the obvious. I think anyone who ever heard 30 seconds of a Cowboy Football radio broadcast could tell. You could hear the “homer” in me, I admit it. Oh, there was always the main concern of describing the action, making sure the listener knew what was going on. But it was also apparent to all just who I was broadcasting for.
Well now I can openly declare my allegiance and “voice” my passion for the Cowboys like a fan. And since it is Game Week, like most Cowboy fans, I’m counting the days. And this season, since it is the first in my new role, we are extending Game Week by one day. Game Week technically begins Sunday, but I think most First Game “Game Weeks” might start a little early anyway.
We Cowboy Football fans have been thinking about Cowboy Football for a long time now. The tried and true Cowboy fans started looking forward to this season right when last season ended with a bowl win in Boise. We had our passion stoked even more with the Spring Game in April. The start of Fall Drills always gives us a jolt. We’ve been pining for the Cowboys and wondering about the Fighting Illini for weeks.
But Game Week is a milestone of sorts. And it tells us that the good stuff is coming, and coming soon.