“Throw up the X” is known worldwide thanks to Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver and former Lufkin Panther, Dez Bryant. What some might not know is what the symbol that he flashes as a touchdown celebration even means. My husband, Joseph, played football back in the day, and I have a picture of him “throwing up the X” after a football game. Who would have thought that 25 years later that Dez Bryant would use the same symbol but (unlike my husband) uses it for a specific reason. After seeing him score more and more touchdowns and throw up the X in celebration, I finally found out what it was all about. He’s “Xing” out all of the negativity on and off the field. What a great message for the world.
Bryant, like so many others, are success stories today because of devoted community and family members as well as teachers, coaches, and staff at Lufkin ISD who influenced his life for good and helped him “X” out the negativity in his life. These individuals simply would not give up on him. We never know what influence we have on those around us, especially the little ones, and how we could be the difference to set a student’s life on the right course. The work we all do is important work, shaping and molding the futures of the likes of Dez Bryant.
I think about my own life and how there were plenty of people who discouraged me and told me that I wouldn’t succeed. I, too, had to “X” out the negative comments and strive to make my goals and dreams happen. I am so thankful for the teachers, family, and community members who told me I could succeed. I’ve since learned that you surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you, and that you pay it forward by believing in and encouraging others. There’s just simply not enough time in this life for all of that negativity and that seems to be what Dez is all about.
I know I am personally proud of Dez and his accomplishments on and off the field. His impressive catches are pure athletic talent (by the way, he caught that ball), but how he handles himself after a call is reversed is an indication of his character. Some times the stars aren’t aligned right and the way we want things to work out just doesn’t. That’s a big part of life and big part of growing up. All I know is that from what I hear, the stars were aligned perfectly when Dez Bryant stepped on the field at Abe Martin stadium where Panther fans were in awe and where he was supported by a community and school district who had his best interest at heart. What a privilege for this young man to be among us and grow up to show others the “Lufkin way”.
Dez, I wish you the very best in the new year and I suggest we all “X” out the negativity around us and look forward to creating a positive year!