Every year in May, the Dallas Cowboys host a day of open tryouts for anyone, anyone, who thinks he might have enough football talent to play for the Pokes. Every year, hundreds of hopefuls from all over the country show up at the playing field with visions of touchdowns dancing in their heads. They run, kick and catch under the watchful eyes of the Cowboy coaches in hopes of receiving an invitation to the Cowboys’ training camp in Thousand Oaks.

Not to dampen the aspirations of any would-be-superstars, but you have to wonder about the odds. In the four seasons that the Cowboys have been doing this, not a single aspirant has ever played a single down of regular season football for the Cowboys. The closest anyone got was in 1975 when one Donnie Joe Morris, who had played a [little ball for North Texas State, was asked to camp and actually played a bit in the early exhibition games. But then he injured something or other, got lost in the shuffle, and the last anyone heard he had gone to Kansas City. There was also a waiter from New Orleans, whose name nobody can quite remember, who got the call to camp, practiced for one day, and decided he’d really rather carry plates than footballs.

But never say die. This year 339 self-anointed jocks still showed up for the ritual. And lo and behold, a couple of punters named Gary Hernandez and Claude Tatham have been invited to Thousand Oaks. Good luck, Gary and Claude. There’s always a first time.


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