This is an article from June, 2008. Great story, so wanted to share … Randy
Cowboys’ Ware Fulfills a Challenge for Fatherhood
By Greg Bishop
I’m not a sports fan… but, the stories behind some of the athletes are inspiring and tear inducing.
SOUTHLAKE, Tex. — DeMarcus Ware cradled his 3-month-old daughter, smoothing her plentiful black hair, tickling her tummy, kissing her cheeks.On his living room couch this month, Ware looked nothing like a menacing All-Pro linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. He made baby noises. He shook rattles. He noticed Marley jabbing fingers in her mouth, an indication she was tired.
Nothing quite compares to watching parents hold their infant. But Ware and his wife, Taniqua, believe they appreciate their daughter, Marley, more because they adopted her after three failed pregnancies.
Finally, they have a child: penetrating eyes, chin covered in drool, curious and cuddly and cute.
“Our little angel,” Ware, 25, said.
He and Taniqua say they have two angels — one they hold each day, and one they can feel but never see or touch. A poem, “Angel in the Sky,” sits on the mantle in the living room. It refers to Omar Ware, who was stillborn in 2006 and cremated the same day. The Wares placed his ashes in a gold urn next to the poem.
Early in the second game he played after Omar’s death, Ware sacked Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell. Instead of dancing, Ware fell backward, powerless, arms spread wide, he said. At that instant, he added, he felt the tension release from his body, as if pushed out by the deafening roar of the home crowd. A friend called Taniqua, saying Ware had looked like an angel falling toward the turf.
Ever since, Ware said: “I feel Omar out there with me, watching over me and protecting me. Sometimes, when I’m tired on the field, and I feel like I can’t go anymore, I just think, what if he had one more breath? What if all three did?”
The Wares always wanted a large family, boys and girls, maybe twins. They met in high school in Auburn, Ala., where Taniqua worked at a deli and sneaked sandwiches and cookies to him.
“Food was the way to his heart,” she said. “And those dimples were every girl’s dream.”
Ware played football, basketball and baseball. Taniqua fought fierce competition to become his Diamond Doll so she could hand him sugar cookies, Snickers and blue Gatorade before each baseball game.
Taniqua, 26, described Ware as a “big softie,” a study in contrasts: a linebacker so feared and disruptive on the field, yet so sensitive and tender off it. He wrote poetry for her and professed his love so often that every phrase in his marriage proposal had been spoken many times before.
She joined the Air Force, working in personnel. DeMarcus went to Troy University in Alabama. They married in March 2005 at a courthouse in Alabama, no family, no fanfare. They celebrated at their favorite fast-food restaurant.
When Dallas drafted Ware in the first round that April, he was living a charmed life. But later that year, Taniqua had her first miscarriage. While she was pregnant with Omar, the hopeful Wares bought baby clothes. But they learned during training camp in 2006 that the fetus had no kidneys and would not survive.
“It’s always on your mind,” said Ware, whose performance in practice suffered. “It really hit me in the evenings.”
Taniqua was always Ware’s counterpoint. She was the daughter of a police officer. Ware met his father for the first time at his high school graduation, and they have since grown closer. She was a tomboy who held in her feelings as often as Ware let his flow.
The experience with Omar brought out emotions in her that Ware had never seen. Sometimes, he said, he found Taniqua crying in her closet. Other times, he broke down in her arms.
“That was the low point,” Taniqua said. “To go to the hospital and give birth and coming home with nothing. You don’t know how to react.
“You’re angry, hurt, upset.”
To honor Omar, the Wares gave pendants to relatives with his tiny footprint on the front and his name and birthdate on the back.
They also decided to try again. They consulted fertility specialists and doctors who specialize in high-risk pregnancies, and Taniqua became pregnant a third time. Before the 2007 season, Ware commissioned a jeweler to make a pendant for her. But while the Cowboys were preparing to play the Giants in the playoffs in January, Taniqua discovered that the fetus’s heart had stopped beating. That was the day the pendant was completed.
It is in the shape of an angel.
The Wares never questioned their Christian faith. But now they asked plenty of introspective questions, like “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why us?”
DeMarcus Ware, an All-Pro linebacker with the Cowboys, his wife, Taniqua, and their 3-month-old adopted daughter, Marley.