By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Burroughs punctuates the problem with the three most dreaded words in educational vernacular: "Show. Your. Work."
Grunts Witten, "Uh-oh."
Using the equivalent of a leather helmet—a No. 2 pencil—Adam answers correctly. As does an adorable 8-year-old girl named Heaven and, in fact, the entire class.
"They've been excited about this for weeks," Burroughs says. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. The trick will be trying to calm them down and get back to normal. That probably won't happen until next week."
Witten finishes his 90-minute visit in the "cafetorium," the half-lunchroom/half-auditorium epicenter for a lively Q&A session.
"Do you eat nachos on game day?" one kid asks. (Nope. For a noon game, it's pancakes. Otherwise, spaghetti.)
"Who's your best friend?" queries a girl wearing a Cowboys cheerleading outfit. (Romo.)
"What's the best thing about being famous?" poses another. (Hanging around Romo's plethora of pretty girlfriends, of course. "Being famous is fun," Witten admits.)
"Have you ever been to the Super Bowl?" says Adam. ("This is the year," responds Witten.)
"Adam's my hero, my little buddy," Witten tells the captivated audience of wide eyes and priceless smiles. "He knows more about football than I do."
Before he can get back in the limo and back to Valley Ranch and back on the road to Super Bowl XLII, Witten has to leave Rainwater. Not sure if that's harder on him or the kids.
"It's surreal to see how excited they are, knowing that once I was sitting right there in the same seats dreaming of playing pro football," Witten says. "I just hope I can help them believe in their dreams. It's special to me, a privilege being a role model. I take pride in being a good one."
Witten poses for more pictures, signs more autographs and—as long as they commence the play by loudly barking "Blue 80!"—lets the kids in Adam's class throw him passes. Alerted by event organizers that it's approaching 10 a.m., Witten makes one last request.
"Do we have time for a couple more?" he begs. "I want to see the kids go long."
Your heroes can still be Cowboys.