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West Texan becomes a part of Cowboys history - Odessa American: Columnists

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West Texan becomes a part of Cowboys history

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Posted: Friday, September 25, 2009 12:00 am

For a self-professed lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan, it doesn’t get much better than having tickets for his team’s first game in the grand new stadium in Arlington.

   But the experience for Ed Lopez of Monahans went beyond last Sunday’s game itself.

   The trip was a chance for Lopez, his brother Gerald Lopez and Ed’s brother-in-law, Abel Nieto of Odessa, to visit the memorial area in the southeast part of the stadium where a brick had been purchased to honor their father, Fred R. Lopez.

   Plus, Ed figured he had a nice collectible when he bought a game program sealed in plastic. He knew that an unopened program from that first game in the fancy new palace would be even more valuable as time passed. So it remained intact.

   Although the Cowboys lost, the West Texas contingent had a great time.

   When they arrived back at their hotel about 2 a.m. Monday, Ed checked in on Facebook and found a message from Cassidee Avary, an old school friend who lives in the Metroplex. It read: “Nice profile in the program!”

   “I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about,” Lopez admitted. But it did prompt him to go out to the car and unwrap the game program.

   That’s when he discovered that his collectible program was going to be more like a family heirloom. He was featured in the first fan profile in the first program for the first game in the new stadium. Right there on page 14.

   Seems that Lopez, as a member of the Dallas Cowboys Fan Club, had been invited by e-mail to submit a profile for possible inclusion in the team’s Star magazine.

   “One of the questions asked how long have you been a Cowboy fan, and I said since I was born.” He included a photo of himself at a Cowboys game and, for good measure, one of his baby pictures.

   “I kinda had a feeling I was going to be in the magazine,” he said.

   But he had no idea they’d upgrade him to the program. But there it is for posterity — he’s identified as “Big Ed Lopez,” complete with both photos.

   Lopez said the fan loyalty dates back to his father’s mother.

   “My grandmother was a big Cowboy fan. About 98 percent of the family are Cowboy fans, but we’ve got a few stragglers,” he said.

   He’s gotten a lot of mileage with his 15 minutes of fun fan fame, but it came at the cost of that unique collectible. When the West Texas crew went back to the pro shop at the stadium Monday to get more programs, none of them were sealed.

   Still, Big Ed doesn’t seem too upset. At least his place in Cowboy lore is sealed.

Odessa, TX

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