Being a sports fan is a funny thing. When Prescott went down, I immediately thought of myself, and what I could have done differently so that maybe he wouldn’t have gotten hurt. I could’ve worn a different jersey, a different pair of boots, I could’ve gotten pizza instead of wings, or Coke instead of Dr. Pepper. At that moment I thought that juju or football mysticism could’ve saved my quarterback, but magic like that doesn’t exist.
Football is a random game. Odds and predictions rarely go according to plan. Most of the time, this randomness is what we love about the American Game, but on days like today, nothing hurts more than randomness. This innate irrationality is the only possible reason I can imagine that this happened to a person like Rayne Dakota Prescott.
From the first time I saw Dak play as a Cowboy, I knew something was different about him. I won’t lie to you and say I never doubted him, there have been plenty of times in his career so far where I’ve been angry with decisions he’s made in-game. It’s off the field where this man stands out the brightest.
He’s taken on the pressure of being the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, and he has never flinched away from that position once. He’s taken all the criticism that Romo, and Aikman, and White, and Staubach could have ever taken, and more, because of the age that we live in and, let’s face it, the color of his skin. Dak Prescott is a Black Man in the most talked-about, criticized position in sports, and that has never brought him down.
This is not all that Dak has had to deal with in his life, however. When he was leading the Mississippi State Bulldogs, he lost his mother to a hard-fought battle with colon cancer. After that loss, Dak got to work, he made his mission finding a cure for that dreaded disease, and he used the phrase “Faith, Fight, Finish” as his battle cry from there on out. Dak misses his mom. Almost every time a positive thing happens on the field, you’ll see him look to the heavens in prayer to her. While this is his reality, it never brings him down. He has been a beacon of hope to people since he picked up the ball after Tony went down.
Fast forward a Rookie of the Year Trophy, 2 NFC East Titles, and a global pandemic, we saw Dak’s family in the news again. Tragedy struck the Prescott’s when Dak’s brother Jace took his own life on April 24th. Dak took some time for himself and stayed out of the public spotlight to find where he was going in his own life. He later opened up about his experiences and how the quarantine, alongside his brother’s passing, made him “experience things he had never felt before.” Overnight Prescott became the new face of Mental Health. The quarterback of America’s Team, the Macho-est of the Macho, opened up about the darkness that was inside of him, and it gave the rest of the world comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. Yet again, Dak faced backlash from terrible people in the media, but he held his head high, and support for him came in droves.
This year has been something that no one could have ever seen coming. But in the face of a pandemic, racial tensions at an all-time high, and the most contentious election we’ve ever seen, Dak has been a beacon of hope. He wasn’t a distraction from the issues at hand, far from it. He’s looked injustice, inequality, death, and pain right in the eye and hasn’t blinked once. He made his name synonymous with mental health, and he was on track for one of the most prolific passing seasons in the history of the National Football League. Dak’s season was one of the only good things to happen in this God-Foresaken year, and to have it cut short is nothing short of a travesty, however, the worse part of it all is that no one in the world deserves this less than Rayne Dakota Prescott.
Sports bring out a lot in people. Sometimes its the worst, like when players get in fights, or fanbases burn down cities. Sometimes its the best, like when you get to hug your dad after they pull off the comeback, or when Alex Smith takes the field for the first time in years. Dak is the personification of the best in sports. He’s friendly, he’s socially conscious, he’s confident in the right way, and he’s flat out good. This injury was random, it was a 1 in 10000 shot of happening and I’ve been sick to my stomach since the play went down, but this is not the end of Rayne Dakota Prescott. Far from it.
Get well soon #4. Our hearts and prayers are with you.