The Annual Dallas All Sports Association banquet was the place to be Tuesday. ... so DallasBlog.com was there. ...
Moments before the beginning of Tuesday's 42nd Annual Dallas All Sports Association banquet at the Fairmont Hotel, I visited with Dick Vermeil, the legendary NFL coach, and told him he is missed as a football broadcaster.
“Thanks,’’ joked Vermeil, “but there might only be two of us who think that.’’
He knows better. The always-emotional Vermeil joined the comical baseball icon Tommy Lasorda, the polished broadcaster James Brown and the heart-string-tugging duo of Everson Walls and Ron Springs in earning laughs and tears from an appreciative audience.
“It’s an honor to just be on stage with figures like this, with people like this,’’ said Mavs exec Donnie Nelson, who was present to accept Dirk Nowitzki’s Big D Award for the area’s top athlete.
Walls recently donated a kidney to Springs, his former Cowboys teammate. The men used their time to thank Cowboys fans for their support, but mostly to promote the idea of organ donation. They have started The Gift For Life Foundation to raise awareness of kidney disease.
Walls was gracious in accepting the Courage Award, saying, "There are so many other heroes who have done so much more for their friends and family."
Other highlights from the black-tie gala:
* Vermeil was the recipient of the Lamar Hunt Award, and he broke down crying when talking about Hunt, who died last December.
* Former Dodgers manager Lasorda accepted the Legends Award for lifetime sports achievement. And he did so with stand-up-comic aplomb. But nearly stealing the show was another old-timer, Bobby Bragan (the Field Scovell Award for achievement, character and community service), who demonstrated that he too still retains his comic fastball.
* The Tom Landry Award for coaching was given to Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, who accepted the award via videotape. Motor Sports Award winner Jeff Burton did the same.
* Mavs voice Mark Followill told us that while college and pro football fill a void, he is itching to get the Mavs season started. But no, he didn’t offer much insight into that “next move’’ Mavs fans seem to be hoping for.
* Darren Woodson won the Emmitt Smith End Zone Award (for pursuit of athletic perfection), presented by Emmitt himself.
* Student Matt Chatman of Happy Hill Farm was given the Tony Romo Scholarship Award.
* CBS broadcaster James Brown won the Pat Summerall Award for excellence in sports journalism/broadcasting.
* Members of the Lewisville Fire Department were the centerpiece of a stirring presentation honoring the lives lost in 9/11.