DALLAS – It has become something of an inside joke with Jason Garrett and the Dallas media, reporters consciously trying to phrase questions to the head coach that don't include, "Are you concerned about . . . ?"
Garrett believes in accepting challenges, not worrying about them. Several people have helped teach him that lesson through football.
One friend has provided a special perspective away from the game, which Garrett shared to an audience Monday night at Highland Park High School.
Brad Urschel was an athletic and academic standout at St. Mark's School in Dallas and then at Princeton in the early 1980s, several years before Garrett would play quarterback there. Upon graduation in 1983, Urschel planned to attend medical school and become a psychologist. First, he planned to train for the 1984 Olympic decathalon in Los Angeles.
That November, a horrific driving accident left Urschel in a deep coma with brain injuries until Christmas Eve. His life changed forever that night, but twenty-nine years later he embraces it more than ever. He's now a proud father of two and a working member of society, following a spiritual path that now defines his life.
"It's not about questions and answers. It's about living in the questions," Urschel said at Monday's event -- "A Night of Inspiration" -- benefiting the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program at Children's Medical Center. "We spend our whole life looking for the answers for life, but it's in the pain and suffering in not knowing the answer, it's living there and feeling comfortable. I'm comfortable in the uncomfortable."
Garrett met Urschel, a fellow Princeton Tiger, when he moved to Dallas to play for the Cowboys. Urschel's daily enthusiasm and spirit has inspired him on and off the field.
When Garrett speaks to his team about dealing with adversity, he's thinking of Brad Urschel.
"Just some things that come up in conversations with Brad and with other people, we share that stuff all the time because what you're trying to do often time is give them wisdom, give them inspiration and give them perspective," Garrett said. "Whatever you can use to help let them hear those messages, you try to put in front of them.
"We all have that in our lives. We wake up and something's not feeling right or something's happened to us and you have a little of that 'woe is me' attitude.
"Brad never seems to have that, and I think it's an important thing."