Along with the opportunity to watch the Cowboys crash ignominiously out of the playoffs, January in Dallas brings with it the chance to reflect. Like 2017, 2018 exposed Dallas and the rest of the U.S. to a relentless, ever-quickening news cycle, only with an election in November for some added fun.
As we catch our breath and look forward to 2019, it's worth slowing down to glance back at all that left Dallas in 2018 and all the new people and things we get to enjoy or just have to put up with, now that they've made their debuts here.
Amari Cooper — When the Cowboys announced in late October that they'd acquired star Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper in exchange for their 2019 first-round draft pick, the consensus among fans and media was that owner Jerry Jones had screwed up again, trading one of his team's most valuable assets for a player he could've acquired for much less.
The consensus was wrong. Cooper single-handedly made the Cowboys offense functional again, inspiring his new teammates to five wins in his first seven games. He's just 24, runs immaculate routes and is better than any wideout the Cowboys might have targeted in the draft.
Scooters — Last year, Dallas got the bikes. This year, following an interim change to its charter, the city has been overrun with motorized scooters. Go anywhere in downtown's general vicinity and see that they're ubiquitous. They'll slow you down in the street or run you over on the sidewalk, but they're the future of urban transportation — until the next thing comes along.
Colin Allred — All Colin Allred did in 2018 was beat a field of deeply connected candidates in the Democratic primary, then take on and defeat 10-term incumbent Pete Sessions by 6 points in November. Allred, a former NFL linebacker and civil rights attorney who served in the Obama administration, is charismatic, thoughtful and deeply tied to his North Dallas District 32.
Salman Bhojani — Bhojani, a Muslim, won election to the Euless City Council in May, despite Texas state Rep. Jonathan Stickland's decision to meddle in a local race. Stickland called out Bhojani for his faith, saying that he was "sneaky" and had dangerous values. Bhojani maintained his composure, eventually winning his race by 37 votes.
"There was an amazing outpouring of support from the community in Euless. That's what I cherish. There is so much diversity in Euless, and it was amazing to reach out to everyone and really celebrate them," Bhojani told the Observer after his victory.
Luka Doncic — Doncic, the third pick in June's NBA draft, is a superstar in the making, the odds-on favorite to win Rookie of the Year and incentive enough on his own to watch the Mavericks a couple of nights a week. He's been better than advertised and everything the Mavs could've asked for.
Jessica Gonzalez — Gonzalez, a political newcomer, took out longtime West Dallas state Rep. Roberto Alonzo in March's Democratic primary, replacing one of the most ineffective members on Dallas' delegation in Austin. Alonzo's biggest accomplishment in the 2017 legislative session was giving the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus political cover to block a bill that would've protected many of his own constituents from the ill effects of gentrification in one of Dallas' quickest transitioning neighborhoods. Gonzalez capitalized on Alonzo's record, or lack thereof, and beat the incumbent by 25 points before running unopposed in the general election.
Adrian Beltre — Beltre, a top-five all-time Ranger and top-10 all-time third baseman, called it quits a couple of days before Thanksgiving, ending a stalwart eight-year run in Arlington. Five or six years from now, Rangers fans will get to celebrate his induction into the Hall of Fame, but Beltre will be missed, on the field and off.
Pete Sessions — Rather than going down with some dignity, the long-serving Sessions hawked a big loogie on his constituents on his way out the door, blaming their ignorance for Colin Allred's victory.
“What irony it is that that which we have built has also turned us into a larger metroplex that has gathered people from all over the country, including those from parts of our West who have come to Dallas and perhaps not really understood the true nature of Texas,” Sessions said during his concession speech.
Jeff Banister — The Rangers fired manager Jeff Banister 150 games into his fourth season with the club in September, despite his having won division championships in 2015 and 2016. Banister lost control of the Rangers clubhouse, reportedly because he struggled to relate to the team's core of young players. Apparently tired of Banister's old-school style, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels replaced him with Los Angeles Dodgers third-base coach Chris Woodward. Woodward is 42 and well-versed in the analytics and advanced metrics that dominate today's baseball strategy.
Faith Johnson — Johnson officially became the Gerald Ford of Dallas County district attorneys in November, when she lost in a landslide to Democratic challenger John Creuzot. Appointed in December 2016 by Gov. Greg Abbott to take over for Republican Susan Hawk, who resigned, Johnson deserves kudos for successfully prosecuting former Balch Springs cop Roy Oliver for shooting and killing Mesquite teenager Jordan Edwards as Edwards and his brothers drove away from a party. Still, she never had much chance at being elected in an overwhelmingly Democratic county.
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Dwaine Caraway — The former veteran Dallas City Council member saw his political career bite the dust in August, as he pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges related to the Dallas County Schools' stop-arm camera scam.
Caraway frequently found himself in hot water during his decade-long run as a fixture of Dallas public life and turned out to be on the take, but he'll always have a spot in our hearts.
Dez Bryant — The Cowboys dumped Dez Bryant, their volatile heart and soul, in April, ending a seven-year relationship. From a football perspective, Bryant's time had come — his physical style of play finally took a toll on his body — but his departure stung nonetheless. Say it one more time — Dez caught it.