For 11 years, from 1982 to 1993 the hit show Cheers ran on television. It was set in a fictional bar in Boston, with a central cast of characters such as Sam Malone, Diane Chambers, Norm Peterson, Cliff Clavin, Woody Boyd, Carla LeBec, Rebecca Howe, etc., and other recurring characters. It was a place where everyone was welcome, troubles were all the same, and as the title says, “where everybody knows your name.”
I’ve often said, and occasionally written about that same feeling about Commerce, it’s regular and recurring cast, and how it truly is that kind of place where everybody does know your name.
This latest instance was this past Saturday night in Frisco. My wife and I met up with Brian and fellow alum Dian Fife for dinner, and to take in the Frisco Fighters indoor football home opener. Brian and I often wondered whether the actual name of the team should be the Lions. All time Lion quarterback great Clint Dolezel is head coach, and Bob Bounds, another legendary great is a top assistant. Lance Evans is a top flight receiver, and the best Lion kicker of them all, Kristov Martinez are on the roster, although Martinez is sidelined due to injury. It was a chance to see some good football, enjoy each other’s company, and for me personally, it was the first chance in over a year to be able to celebrate my wife and I’s wedding anniversary. We were hoping to be able to speak to Clint and Bobby for a moment post game.
It was a very exciting game, a capacity crowd, and the Fighters got the win on a field goal at the gun. Brian and I were able to find our way to field level in all the madness, and have a short chat with Bobby, who asked us to wait, that he had something for us, and would be back. I was thinking maybe a game ball(in the indoor game, any ball that goes into the stands is a souvenir. I was not prepared for what was to come next. It seems like Brian and Bobby had a surprise birthday gift for me. I was presented with a helmet signed by Clint, Bobby, Lance Evans, and when he returns, Kristov. The real surprise was another signature that’s coming shortly from the Frisco GM, Dallas Cowboy legend, and the newest member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Drew Pearson.
Growing up a Cowboys fan, Drew Pearson was one of my biggest heroes. He was an undrafted rookie free agent in the same rookie class with Harvey Martin, and it didn’t take long to make an impact. Drew Pearson was one of the best of all time in the last two minutes of a game. Thanksgiving Day in 1974. The next season in 1975, the original Hail Mary play in Minnesota. 1980 in a playoff game in Atlanta. All in the final minutes. He was simply one of the best in my eyes, and long overdue for induction.
I knew Brian for maybe a year before beginning to write for The Wire. Bobby, I’ve met in passing a couple of times. Clint, I’ve met once in 2019 at the Hall of Fame Induction weekend. The one common thread is that little school off of I 30 in Northeast Texas. It didn’t matter if you were a player, support staff, or had no involvement with the athletic program at all other than being a student. You were there.
So thank you so very much to Brian, Clint, and Bobby. Thanks for making a good weekend great. Commerce is a special place full of special people. To quote Norm Peterson in the final Cheers episode, “you can never be unfaithful to your one true love. You always come back to her.” Commerce is that kind of place.
Where Everybody Knows Your Name.