Photos by Paul Knight
Standing in the rain on Saturday afternoon, watching Katy High School play Atascocita in a playoff game, Hair Balls remembered something we read on the Washington Post NFL blog this past week.
This question, about the Dallas Cowboys, was asked: "Why are the Cowboys So Hated? How does 'America's Team' remain one of the most loathed franchises in sports?" Different bloggers weighed in on the question.
From Jimmy Johnson to Barry Switzer to Michael Irvin all circling upstairs to the guy named Jerry Jones who owns and runs the franchise -- it's all arrogance.
There's a lot of reasons people hate the Cowboys, but, in my opinion, the biggest is that guy wearing the Cowboys jacket in your office...He's the same guy in every state, in every town that decided to jump on the Cowboys bandwagon despite having no connection whatsoever to the city of Dallas or the state of Texas.
So, while we were watching the rainy game and enjoying it, we started thinking about all the bad things people have said to us about Katy while we've been following the team the last couple of years. (If you want to get a taste of hatred for Katy, just check out the K-Train Station, a blog about the Katy Tigers, even though he started banning people who post nasty things.)
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1. The Fans. In a Houston Press cover story from October of 2008, we wrote about a game between Katy and Cypress Bay High School from Florida, and the mother of one of the players from Florida died two days before his team was scheduled to leave for Texas. He decided to make the trip, and after Katy won the game 31-6, he said, "It was an amazing experience up until about 2:30 p.m. (the start of the game). Then it was hell on Earth. I couldn't wait to get out of that God-forsaken state and get back home to Florida." It was the ocean of Katy red in the stands that made the player hate Rhodes Stadium. Maybe it's one of those don't-get-it-unless-you're-a-part-of-it things, but it had to be demoralizing to Atascocita on Saturday when the rain started pouring and its fans disappeared under umbrellas. The Katy stands didn't change, however, because everyone simply pulled out their Katy-red rain gear and continued to scream.
2. Gary Joseph. Joseph came to Katy in 1982 as a defensive coordinator and the team won three state championships before he became the head coach in 2004. Katy has won two more championships since then. In the Post blog, one person wrote, "How could anyone not cringe when [former Cowboy's head coach] Jimmy Johnson bellowed "how 'bout those Cowboys" in one particularly raucous postgame locker room scene also captured by NFL Films?" So maybe Jimmy Johnson made the Cowboys easy to hate. But that's not Joseph. Physically he's a small man, and away from football, he's quiet and seems almost timid. He says things like, "There's no better place to raise kids, or I wouldn't have stayed in Katy all these years." It takes a lot to admit you hate a guy like that, which only makes the hate stronger.
3. The success. Few high school teams if any can match the number of wins and, more importantly, the number of district and state championships Katy has racked up during the last two decades. But every year, Katy fields a team of the same group of mostly white, average looking players. Apart from the 2007 state championship team, there are rarely any blue-chip college recruits. It would seem this is enough to drive opposing teams crazy. At the opening game of the season against The Woodlands, one Woodlands fan, almost belligerent with hate, told us, "Don't get me wrong, it's a great program, but could Katy beat Westfield (a team The Woodlands beat in the playoffs last year)? I don't think so." The Woodlands demoralized Katy last year in the regular season, winning 47-0. Katy went on to win another state championship, The Woodlands did not.
Katy won Saturday's game against Atascocita 45-7 to move on to the next round of the playoffs.