December 30, 2009

Fun and Games: Bowl week isn't all practice

IRVING, Texas - For college football players, the big reward for a successful season is an appearance in a prestigious bowl game.

Check that off the list for Oklahoma State, as the Cowboys are just a couple of days away from the 2010 Cotton Bowl Classic.

But as a late-night TV ad would say - wait, there's more!

What exactly, you ask? Plenty of opportunities for fun and, most importantly, SWAG.

"We got a couple of cool gifts - TVs, GPS systems, the seniors get bowl rings," said Jermiah Price. "We got a lot of cool stuff, I really can't even think of everything. Clothes, pullovers, sweats, we got a lot of cool things from the Cotton Bowl."

So, a bowl game is a second Christmas for players. Got it. But the bowl committee, knowing that a game week has a lot of down time, has gone the extra mile to ensure players are able to relax and have a lot of fun as well.

"There are a lot of cool things this bowl has set up for us," Price said. "I think the hospitality room they have for us at the hotel is top of the line. We really don't have to go anywhere else to do anything. Everything we need, the Cotton Bowl has provided for us. If we want to get out, they've provided things for us."

"We had a great time and they've been treating us first class down here in Dallas," Andrew Lewis said.

Tuesday night, many Cowboys attended a Dallas Stars hockey game. Others opted for a concert. And that's just one evening during the week. Other festivities have included a trip to Lawry's in Addison for the "Beef Bowl," as well as several hours at the Main Event, a giant fun emporium type of place, complete with bowling alleys, laser tag and video games.

Speaking the morning of the trip to the Main Event, Derek Burton said that was the stop he was looking forward to the most.

"That's what I'm looking forward to, because I like video games and stuff, so today will be my day to have fun and probably blow a lot of money. I'm going to enjoy myself today."

He was also looking forward to an activity he said just doesn't fulfill him back home in Stillwater - shopping.

"I really want to go shopping," he said. "I want to buy some stuff because Oklahoma, the stores just aren't the same."

And that's really what it's all about - giving the players a chance to enjoy themselves after basically going full tilt since August. But it's not just about going around the Metroplex for activities. The Cotton Bowl, as Price said above, has set up a very nice hospitality area for the players in their team hotel.

"It was great the way the hospitality room at the hotel has everything for us," Sexton said. "It's got games, a basketball court. When I first came in I saw the basketball court and it was wild because I've never seen that at other bowl games. It's just great here."

Sexton has taken full advantage of having fun this week. Before practice on Sunday, he collaborated with Oklahoma City's Fox 25 to interview some of his fellow players and share some laughs.

But even with all that, rest assured that the Cowboys are taking this week's bowl preparation seriously.

"You know, it's always good to have fun things to do, but at the same time, we come here for one thing," Lucien Antoine said. "We can have fun later after football. But right now what we've got to focus on winning the game. We've got the mindset to keep all the distractions out and focus on the game."

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