Dallas Cowboys

Football is Here. So Sayeth the Cowboys' Annual Kick-Off Lucheon Benefitting Happy Hill Farm

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Calendar and temperature be damned, today summer becomes fall becomes football.

Welcome, Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon.

I've been attending this shindig since it was held at the Grand Kempinski Hotel -- later the Hotel Intercontinental -- on the Tollway in Addison in the early '90s. Today it's grown into the 2011 Flowserve Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Today is the day that owner Jerry Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and iconic voice of the team Brad Sham get up on the podium and introduce the 2011 team. The luncheon, hosted by the Dallas chapter of the NFL Alumni Association chairman Chad Hennings, features a silent auction at 10 a.m. and will include awards to last year's offensive, defensive and special teams MVP and a special Tom Landry Memorial Legend Award to three-time Super Bowl champ Bill Bates, presented to him by former Cowboys' assistant Gene Stallings.

I love football.

I also love the cause: Happy Hill Farm Academy.

I've spoken at Happy Hill's athletic banquet a couple of times. Amazing place. And not a better human walking this planet that founder Ed Shipman.

Operated solely from private donations, the sprawling farm/school in Granbury provides education and opportunity to everyone from troubled teens to infants literally left at the farm's gates with notes that simply read "Help."

Tomorrow may be the Cowboys' final pre-season game. But with today's luncheon, football season is already here.