I look back on it now and can't help but smile and shudder at my own arrogant stupidity. It was the early '90's and I was an E-4 corporal in the US Army, having just been assigned to lead third squad of third platoon in Delta Company (TOG). Third squad was the entry squad for the unit's new soldiers, "newbies" we called them (at least that is one moniker that I can still use with a clear conscience). As the soldier improved in his job proficiency and overall maturity, he was not only promoted in rank but usually promoted to a different squad. Third squad was for the newbies, or for the soldiers who just didn't "get it." So the NCO's in third squad were tasked with the job of helping the new guys develop, and riding the duds so they would either get it or get out.
Which brings me to my act of arrogant stupidity which still causes me to shamefully smile at myself and involuntarily shudder for a second. On the first morning of my first day in leading third squad I walked in to the barrack's room where the men had assembled. Roughly closed the door behind me, and menacingly stared at the troops. When the staring stopped I introduced myself, "Ladies, there's a new sheriff in town."
(SHUDDER) I wouldn't shudder so much now if I hadn't been so serious then.
Hopefully, I've learned a lot about leadership since 1994, but I cannot hear or read that phrase "new sheriff in town" without recalling that moment.
I think there will be a lot of shuddering anguish this Sunday in the DFW area, because the Houston Texans, who look like a legitimate contender for the AFC South crown, will be hosting the Blunder Boys; their in-state opponents, heretofore known as the Dallas Cowboys. Only two games into the NFL season, it is already apparent that the Cowboys are not even Texas' team, let alone America's team; not this year, anyway. As Roy Johnson writes at ESPN.com (that's where I found the cartoon):
He's still got the best stadium in sports. And his team's unis are pretty cool, too. He's still got the Ring of Honor and the history made by the iconic figures who've coached and played there. He's still got the star. And he's still got the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. But Jerry Jones, for the first time ever, no longer has the baddest NFL team in the state of Texas.
That would be the Houston Texans.
And those rights will be stamped, validated and deep-fried when the 2-0 Texans put a whuppin' on the 0-2 Cowboys in Sunday's shootout at Reliant Stadium.
That sound you hear? It would be Jerry Jones' head exploding.
That's right, the eyes of Texas are not upon the Boys. The team named for the state now owns the state. Or at least bragging rights.
Being from Indiana, I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I will be pulling hard for the Boys. The Texans have been dominated by my Colts since they joined the League - and the AFC South. This year looks different. I hope Wade Philips can prepare his team, and that Romo will lead his team to victory over the Texas upstarts. That's what I hope, but it's not what I think will happen.
There's a new sheriff in town; well, in Texas anyway. That's where I hope he stays.