Cowboys, culture … and football!

Preparations for Super Bowl XLV are in full swing in Fort Worth, so I hopped on my bike and rode downtown several times this week to see what all the hype is about. It seems like a pretty big deal, judging from the transformation of Sundance Square into what some artists in hyperbole are calling the center of the sports universe for the coming week.
The cable sports network ESPN selected Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth to anchor its broadcasts during Super Bowl week, which starts Monday. ESPN will begin its 80 hours of live radio and TV broadcasting at 5 a.m. Monday from an outdoor stage erected this past week in a Sundance Square parking lot between Houston and Main streets.
Fort Worth is playing host to the Pittsburgh Steelers, American Football Conference champions, and Dallas is hosting the Green Bay Packers, champions of the National Football Conference. It’s another demonstration of the longtime rivalry — or the new buzzword “regional cooperation” — between the two North Texas cities.

Sundance Square getting ready for prime time

The Sundance Square cattle drive mural with my bike in the foreground

The hype will climax Feb. 6 when the Steelers and Packers clash at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, which is actually quite a bit closer to Fort Worth than to Dallas. But geography-challenged sportscasters persist in saying that the Super Bowl is being played in Dallas.
ESPN has positioned its Fort Worth stage so that the network’s cameras capture as a backdrop a mural depicting a cattle drive and two downtown skyscrapers, the D.R. Horton and Wells Fargo towers. On Main Street, a streetwide football field has been laid out on a raised platform, presumably to serve as a set for ESPN talking heads to analyze the Steelers’ and Packers’ offenses and defenses.
In Sundance Square near the ESPN stage is a huge, seven-ton sculpture/trophy — I’m not sure what to call it — fabricated by Fort Worth-based Thornton Steel. The “Cradle of Champions” monument is intended to honor Texas high school football players who went on to play professionally. The structure is made from steel recycled from the old home of the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Stadium in Irving, and bits of steel donated by high schools around the state. Did I mention that football is a BFD in Texas?

The Cradle of Champions sculpture

City officials have been touting Fort Worth’s mix of western heritage and world-class art museums — “Cowboys and Culture,” they say.
I wonder how many of the Super Bowl visitors will take in the exhibits at the Kimbell Art Museum, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art or the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. My bet is on the downtown nightspots, such as a newly opened Mexican-themed sports cantina called Ojos Locos (Crazy Eyes), where waitresses called “chicas” serve cold beer in 60-ounce or 100-ounce cyclinders called “balons.”
See you there!



Filed under Americana, Texana, Urban cycling

4 responses to “Cowboys, culture … and football!

  1. conifir

    that picture of the football coming out of the state emblem…
    is nothing but pornography…
    just pure porn…
    now i understand why i cannot stand anything that comes from texas

  2. John Vandevelde

    There seems to be a new bike featured in your latest posting, or at least a bike I have not noticed in prior photos or heard about. Where is your beloved basic black Boyd Atherton? Did you splurge on something new in a passionate purple? If so, nothing wrong with that. As comedian and bike collector Robin Williams reportedly said in response to being asked, “How many bikes do you need?”—-“One more!”
    P.S.–Seems to me we don’t have enough pro football in LA, and you probably have a little too much of it in Texas right now.

    • John,
      I still have my Atherton and it is still much loved. The bike in the photo is my old bike, a Bruce Gordon Hikari touring bike, acquired in the fall of 1993. The Bruce Gordon had about 26,000 miles on it when I got the Atherton in January 2002. It probably has 30,000-plus miles on it now. The Bruce Gordon went into retirement when I got the Atherton, but I brought it out of retirement as a backup bike for rambles around the city. It needed new tires and I was able to buy for $10 dollars apiece two Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires — just like the ones on the Atherton — from a friend who bought them on my recommendation but decided to replace them after riding on them fewer than 100 miles because she thought they were too heavy and slowed her down. I also fitted out the Bruce Gordon with a halogen light (with battery in the water bottle cage) for the Wednesday night rides I do regularly with a Fort Worth group called the Night Riders, I understand there’s a similar group in LA called the Night Ridazz. I hope all is well at your end. My wife and I were in New York earlier this month to celebrate the marriage of our middle son, Matt. Take care and keep in touch.

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