MOST NIGHTS, L. J. MCCOY gets to the Dodge Arena in Hidalgo before warm-ups, decked out in an orange hunting vest and a floppy hat, homemade signs—“You’ve been Shmyred” reads a favorite—in one hand and a bullhorn in the other. The McCoy family business, Valley Block and Brick, owns eighteen season tickets for the area’s minor league hockey team, the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, mostly for clients and employees. But their half a dozen seats behind the visiting team’s penalty box have more to do with family than business.
A CITY OF 2,561 PEOPLE 43 miles east of San Angelo, Eden has five established churches, three sit-down restaurants that all serve Tex-Mex, two motels, a grocery store, a hospital, a nine-hole golf course, and several exotic-game ranches. It's a place of great natural beauty—more or less the spot where the Hill Country gives way to West Texas—that bills itself "The Garden in the Center of Texas" and claims Air Force pioneer General Ira Eaker as its favorite son.
LATE IN NORTH DALLAS FORTY, the 1979 film adaptation of former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Peter Gent's roman à clef, actor Mac Davis is washing down unprescribed painkillers with Budweiser while recounting a community-service visit with a YMCA team: "I give 'em my usual bullshit," he tells a teammate played by Nick Nolte. "Y'know, football, character development . . . all that crap."