One Good Cowboy

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He also excelled at mutton busting—riding a sheep as long as you can. At another rodeo, he was a ringer in the calf chase, in which about 30 kids run after a young cow to try to untie a ribbon from its tail. And even though he came from a small town, Vander Esch had big dreams. When he was three or four years old, he started telling people he planned on playing in the NFL. And he never had a backup plan. He was undeterred when "hundreds" of people tried to tell him the NFL was a pipe dream.

One Good Cowboy by Catherine Mann

He was undeterred when he had to walk on at Boise State. He made the team, and it took him just nine months to earn a scholarship, though he hadn't played a game yet. One topic took up most of the time in predraft meetings between Vander Esch and Cowboys executives, scouts and coaches: wolf hunting. When Vander Esch showed them a photo of him with a wolf kill, they were fascinated. Some draft prospects are swallowed by the personal side of the evaluation process.

They shrink in interviews. Vander Esch, the nowyear-old who grew up on the side of a mountain, was as impressive in interviews as he was on tape. When he walked in, he had a presence. He never blinked in the interviews.


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He felt right at home—big smile, talking ball. Initial expectations were modest for a linebacker who had played only 32 games of man football in his life. The thinking was he could be a backup and special teams player as a rookie and develop into an eventual replacement for Sean Lee. But Vander Esch didn't see it that way. The moment he opened the Cowboys playbook, shortly after being selected, he was confident he could make a quick transition, in part because the Cowboys defensive system was similar to the one he played in at Boise State.

Once that registered, it was like nothing changed from college. My instincts, preparation, hard work and ability just took over.

Specials of the Past

On the surface, playing eight-man football in high school would seem to be a disadvantage. But for Vander Esch, it has been a benefit. You had to be in shape. You had to be able to play when you are tired. Being able to open-field tackle when you are tired, and staying disciplined added to my instincts.

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Vander Esch began the season as a backup. He started his first game Sept. He finished the regular season as the Cowboys' leading tackler with , 18 more than the next-closest teammate. A proud Cowboys linebacker tradition goes back nearly six decades. Lee, an old pro who has made a career out of doing everything the right way, understands he is a part of something that's bigger than what's happening now. Lee embraced the rookie who looked up to him. He began mentoring Vander Esch before OTAs even began, meeting almost every day and going over plays on the dry-erase board.

Vander Esch's locker is next to Lee's. He sits with him in every meeting. He stands next to him on the practice field. Lee has taught him the big things, like how to prepare over the course of a week, how to stay fresh over the grind of a season and how to stay grounded in the vortex of celebrity.

And he's taught him the little things, too, like how to cheat on alignments and how to distinguish his keys in different situations. And, ultimately, Lee has taught him how to step aside with grace. Lee's hamstring injuries opened the door for Vander Esch, and Vander Esch blitzed through it, taking his job. He deserves it. Lee might be the mentor, but he's not the most common comparison. Vander Esch and Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher are the same height and approximate weight, and Vander Esch was just a tick slower in the yard dash 4. Urlacher has a similar background, coming from rural Lovington, New Mexico.

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And the game is so much in space right now. You can't teach that. They are both very bright, and the humility is the same. He's a great teammate, just like Brian. Of course he's a great teammate. Vander Esch understands the strength the pack gives to the wolf.

The A Go-Go Bars

He also realizes that a football team, like a wolf pack, operates on a hierarchy. Every morning, Vander Esch arrives at The Star about 20 minutes before meetings begin, at , and prepares three canisters of coffee for the veterans and coaches in the kitchenette adjacent to the meeting rooms on the second floor. He makes each canister a different strength to please all tastes. He waited his turn. Then he got his shot after Sean got hurt, and he became that vocal guy. I have the utmost respect for that guy.

The Cowboys were protecting a seven-point lead against the Eagles with left in a November game. Before the snap, Vander Esch stalked running back Corey Clement as if he knew a screen pass was going to head his way. With a deft angle, he got past both and grabbed Clement by the ankle with one hand for a loss of five. The play took the life from the Eagles. Vander Esch is at his best when the kill is near—when those hunting instincts kick in. A good hunter is aware of everything—the direction of the wind, the scent in the air, the phase of the moon, the snap of the twig.

He makes note of any clutter that could come between him and his target. He knows every landmark. A good linebacker is aware of everything, too—the pad level of the uncovered guard, the quiver in the quarterback's snap count, the widening of the wide receiver's eyes just before contact, the way his cleats grip the earth beneath him. Trying to hunt, you think what the animal would do in this situation.

What would be their next move? It's the same as football. One is a street Soi Cowboy and one is an open-air plaza Nana.

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Both have the same types of bars and precautions. You can overspend in either or get some good deals. Any shows generally start at 10pm if the bar has them. There are more ladyboy bars in Nana than Cowboy, but there are also more shows in Nana from the gogos as well. Great info Any suggestions? I am first timer to these places. Hotel location could help or hurt you.

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A hotel in the Nana -Asoke area means you can walk to lots of stuff. TravelVU, as this is a family friendly site would be better to Google search Cowboy and Nana gogo bars for suggestions on the best ones to go to. Stickman Bangkok makes for interesting reading as well. Tip: All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips. Log in to get trip updates and message other travellers.


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