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Cowboys fans gear up for playoff game against Rams

January 12, 2019

Ahead of the Dallas Cowboys face-off against the Los Angeles Rams, Cowboys fans in Brownsville let their pride and excitement shine through Friday as they prepared to cheer on their team in round two of the NFL playoffs.

“ This is our season,” Maribel Saldivar, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Sharp Elementary, said. She was one of about 16 school employees who wore their Cowboys jerseys or shirts to work Friday.

Saldivar and two of her colleagues, P.E. teacher Mario P. Gonzalez and office administrator Jessica Barrientes, have been Cowboys fans their entire lives. They plan to root for their team all the way to the Super Bowl.

Gonzalez said fans are eying a Super Bowl win for the Cowboys this year because of “the unity, the way they play together.”

“ Every piece of the puzzle is there, and that makes a big difference,” he said. “The offense has struggled, but the defense is strong.”

Barrientes said there’s another factor in her prediction of a Cowboys victory.

“ The people who believe in them, which is us — the fans,” she said. “(We) motivate them.”

Win or lose, Gonzalez said the community will celebrate their team after the game with the famous Southmost pitada.

“ People take their shirts, they’re walking, honking, high-fiving,” he said of the tradition, which also brings people out during basketball and soccer team victories.

Over at Brownsville Learning Academy High School, Assistant Principal Hector Zamarripa’s office is a tribute to the Cowboys all year round. Most of his memorabilia, from photos to toys to a custom wood wall-hanging, are gifts from people who know he his a die-hard fan.

“ They were my first professional team that I ever knew, and I’m a loyal guy, so I’ll be like it says,” he pointed to one of his wall decorations emblazoned with the phrase, “Lose, win or tie, I’m a Cowboys fan til I die.”

Zamarripa has been a fan since 1967 when he idolized players like "Bullet Bob" Hayes and Don Meredith. He’s even gotten his future son-in-law, a Kansas City Chiefs fan, to don blue and silver on Cowboys game days.

“ To me, Cowboys is a family thing,” he said, with games accompanied by cookouts attended by friends and families. “Those were probably the best moments for me.”

Gonzalez felt similarly about the family aspect of gathering for games.

“ The menu’s important. That makes it fun,” he said. “My wife’s a big fan, and she’s the one who jumps six feet in the air.”

Rooting for America’s Team is a must for anyone who plans on setting foot in Saldivar’s home.

“ If you’re not a Cowboys fan, you’re not allowed. La fuera,” she said with a laugh.

Barrientes expects that even in Los Angeles, the Cowboys fans will have a strong turnout.

“ It’s loyalty to the team,” she said, “You believe in something. It’s just the players and the coaches and the owner. You look forward to them, and you don’t give up on them.”

The Rams will host the Cowboys on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

nadia@brownsvilleherald.com

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