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Ner's Random Musings on a life of interesting insights

a world of interesting factoids about nothing and everything


November 28th, 2007

Lj Idol, Week 4, When You're a Razorback, you're a Razorback for Life @ 03:57 pm

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The rejection letters kept piling up. I remember my Dad showing me several stacks, all neatly classified and coalated, all rejections. I remember helping my Dad open them, and I remember how he always grimaced as he read the names of the firms neatly typed on the envelopes and the gloomy tomes that were spattered within. Would he ever get a job? Was getting a degree at 40 really such a good idea? When the call came in the Spring of 1993, my sister and I knew that this was going to be different, that rejection wasn't going to be the answer. We just wondered where we would go. What would it be like? What school would we go to? Would we have friends ... wherever it was we were going? Were we going to go somewhere glamorous? Were we going to the east coast or the west coast?

"Well guys," Dad proclaimed. "we're going to Arkansas."

Arkansas. ... Arkansas? ... Where exactly was Arkansas. Do they really not wear shoes in Arkansas? This was most definitely, we thought, not going to be glamorous, but my Dad needed a job, so ... Arkansas it was.

I remember my sister showing me the flat lands and the rolling hills of Arkansas on my finger-worn topographic map of the United States, and I remembered how many questions I had. I knew that a move to Arkansas meant leaving a hot, arid climate for a southern steaminess that I had just experienced on a short trip to Atlanta. I remember getting offf the plane in Atlanta and being assaulted by the steamy, heavy air, and this image was fresh as newly poared asphalt made even more shiny and spongy by the scorching desert sun as I contemplated the move. All I knew about Arkansas was that President Bill Clinton was from there, and that they had the University of Arkansas with their crazy sports teams that came with whooping fans; I knew that those fans had to do with the loss Arizona State suffered at the hands of ... them. I could handle Bill Clinton (if I were old enough, I would have voted for him), but I didn't know if I could stomach their razorbacks.

As we got ready to go, I got prepared. History class fortuitously allowed me the opportunity to write a report on a state of our choice. I naturally chose Arkansas, and by the time I was finished, I learned more about the state that I would move to than most Arkansas natives. I learned that we would move to the natural state and that there was a state park where you could go and dig for diamonds. I learned the Governor's name, the name of all of the national Representatives and senators. I learned that in Arkansas, and more importantly in the South, not the south with a little s but one with a big growling capital S, contained a land of Baptist Churches, Friday night high school football, and Nasscar.

Once the ordeal of moving was over, and we got settled into a routine of school for us, and work for Mom and Dad, we were able to really look around. No longer was Arkansas a research topic. I was there in the South, and whether or not I liked it or not, THIS was Razorback Country, and I had seemingly no choice but to like it. I was successfully able to keep my flat Southwestern accent, resisting the old-fashioned sounding slow drawl--the "y'alls" and the "'preciate yas"--but in Arkansas, college sports pervaded like nothing else, and it was useless for me to resist the Razorback's allure.

Arkansas has no other major sports teams but the Razorbacks, so sports fans follow football and basketball religiously. It is said that in Arkansas, you live, you breathe, you eat, and you bleed red. It's said that you are consumed by the mean looking hog. You become brainwashed to the fact that the razorback mascot really doesn't look quite that ugly but actually looks somewhat sexy, and you start to think that a fighting, mean, undulating, razorback is really ... really ...

cool!

The rumors are all correct.

By the time I was three months into my eighth grade education, my cultural education in Arkansas was complete. I had no choice but to become one with my inner Razorback. I had no choice but to be a Razorback, through and through, and I liked it.

I went to my first Razorback game when I was a freshman at the University of Arkansas. I learned the art of the hog call to the tune of 50000 other fans roaring in eerie yet exilarating unison, "wooooooooooo pig soooooooooooooeeeeeeeee". When I became a student of the University of Arkansas, I became a Razorback, and I'll stay a Razorback for life, no matter how embarrassed my non-Razorback friends get when I raise my right hand, wiggle my fingers, and rip off the ultimate Razorback salute, the Hog Call.

Usually, the state of Arkansas is united with its Razorbacks. Arkansas is unique because it is so united. I've had friends tell me of the times they have gone to other countries, and been asked either to demonstrate to them the very unique Hog Call or explain what a razorback actually is. Most times, whether or not the football team is winning or losing, we Arkansans support them fully. It's not abnormal to see fans tailgating eight hours before a game, and partying six hours after. Fans sometimes even become cannibals and eat pork chops, tenderloin, sausage, and barbecue pork, all sinfully on the Hog's Holy Sabbath Day. It's not unusual for fans to sport their Hogheads and paint their bare chests with the letter A, even if the Hogs have a losing record.

This year has been filled with turmoil synonymous of a sope opera or a trashy truckstop paperback, with the two most recruited players in the nation in 2005 leaving for seemingly petty personal reasons, and scandalous emails being read on the local evening news's top story. This summer, it got so bad that one sports commentator started his sportscast every day with a segment called "As The Hog Turns", and the latest gossip was painfully recounted .

Lately, much speculation has been thrown about in the Arkansas media as to the fate of Razorback coach, Houston Nutt. Some fans wanted him to go, some wanted him to stay. Some even went as far as protesting by towing Anti-Nutt banners on their planes, executing a terrorist-like flyby of a sold-out gameday Rennold's Razorback stadium. It wouldn't surprise me if the disunity of the state's sports fans wouldn't have spilled over from the battlefield gridiron of the 24/7 sports radio station to a Gen-u-ine, I kid you not, real battlefield of an Arkansas Civil War.

On Tuesday, Coach Nutt resigned, and took a job at the University of Mississippi), a rival of University of Arkansas.

"I'd just encourage everybody -- everybody," Nutt said. "Let's all come together. Let's be Razorbacks. Once you're a Razorback, you're always a Razorback -- for life."just</i> the Natural State. It wasn't a 20 page report, it wasn't a list of city and county names. It was real, and the Razorbacks seemed to make Arkansas more real for me as a young guy.

I am proud to have gone to the University of Arkansas. I'm proud to be a Razorback fan, no matter the helmsman, no matter the storm. I'm sad that fans, media, and administrators may have forced Coach Houston Nutt to resign, and I hope that the Razorbacks can find a coach that can lead a proud team to success. Sure, I respect the fact that other teams have fervent fans and I wish Nutt success at Ole Miss, but I will always be a Razorback-- "... for life."

Proud fans of the Razorback Nation, UNITE!

Woooooooooo pig sooee
Woooooooooo pig sooee
Woooooooooo pig sooee ... Arkansas Razorbacks!





This is an entry for the Lj Idol writing contest locatet in the therealljidol. I'll need the votes this week, so if you like it, I'll provide instructions in a coming message.
 
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From:beldar
Date:November 28th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
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I notice your research found that the state motto is "The Natural State" but for a long time it was "Land of Opportunity" which was at times hard to say with a straight face, but fairly recently -- around the sesquicentennial in the 80s I think -- the legislature gave in to the tourism department and changed it to "Natural State" to emphasize all the wild beauty.

Razorbackism is the state religion (practiced everywhere but Jonesboro). It was telling that for the longest time the McDonalds right across the street from UALR was decorated not for the nearby Trojans, but for the Razorbacks over a hundred miles away.
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From:djner
Date:November 28th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)

The Land of Opportunity

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Isn't there some other state that is the Land of Opportunity or something like that, now. I personally like "Natural State" better myself.

Even in Jonesboro, most people are Razorback fans. That's one of the major reasons why Arkansas and Arkansas State never play each other, they think that that game could fracture the state's unity support for the hogs.
Thanks for the comment, I knew you'd comment on this one.
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From:tralfamadore
Date:November 28th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I've definitely been to the Crater of Diamonds State Park. My mom found an already-cut diamond that looked like it had fallen out of someone's wedding ring.
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From:djner
Date:November 28th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
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I'd hate to be the person who lost the diamond. Amazing that it just had to fall out at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. It would be cool to go sometime, I haven't been.
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From:superhappytime
Date:November 29th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
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I think the Razorback nation is kind of insane...in the past few years, it seems like they've run off the basketball coach and now the football coach that made them relevant...I mean, I don't even remember watching Arkansas play a game before Nutt was there...I guess in the coming years it will be up to Ole Miss to stop LSU from taking over the world.
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From:djner
Date:November 29th, 2007 12:50 am (UTC)
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I think it's a travesty that we've run off two good coaches. Look at LSU though, they lost 2 games, and they're pissed off at Les Miles. If they lose to Tennessee, and then lose their bowl game, he could be gone too. Not likely, but still.

In basketball, Arkansas had the Crayton coach hired, he did a press conference talking about what he would do as a coach, and then he backed out the next day.

I just hope that the new athletic director can sort things out, otherwise, it will be Arkansas with a 2 and 10 record and Ole Miss winning the SEC west.

It's not all the coach, but when you haev a whole state who is yelling at you to leave even if it's been the player's fault, that's a bad sign, and a sad state of affairs.

I guess other schools are worse with running off coaches, but Arkansas doesn't need to become one of this six coaches in six years schools.

I know Houston Nutt somewhat, personally, and I'll miss the guy. That doesn't matter though.
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From:spydielives
Date:November 29th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
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I have only one, no two responses to this entry.

1. Nice job
2. See icon
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From:djner
Date:November 29th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the nice words. Can you describe your icon, can't see it. Glad you liked the entry, I was worried that people wouldn't be able to identify with it.
From:libra_dragon
Date:November 29th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
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Good entry, very interesting. I always wondered what it would be like to live in a state with no major sports and only college.
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From:djner
Date:November 29th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the good words. It's definitely an interesting thing to live in a one team town. I don't know if there are many states in the country that only have one team, so it's definitely an interesting experience. Thanks again.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 29th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)

more hogs memories...from Mom

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I don't know if you remember this, but back in ’93 when we moved here, Kelsea was in 6th grade and when the Hogs were in the championship the whole school went outside to call the hogs. She thought that was so strange and she refused to participate because the team the Hogs were playing in the championship was the other UA...the University of Arizona!
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From:djner
Date:November 29th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)

Re: more hogs memories...from Mom

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I remember her talking about how she went outside, but I had forgotten that she refused because of the other UA game. Ah yes, that were fun tmes.
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From:imafarmgirl
Date:November 30th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
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Great entry. I have a lot of relatives in arkansas and they are all razerbacks fans. I had a plastic hog hat as a kid and a razerbacks sweatshirt as a teen.
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From:djner
Date:November 30th, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
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One can never have too much Razorbacks stuff in this writer's unbiased opinion OP. Thanks for your comment.
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From:kittenboo
Date:November 30th, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
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loved your post!
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From:djner
Date:November 30th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
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Glad you liked it, was worried that it would be "too local" for some people, but I think it turned out ok. Thanks again.
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From:walkertxkitty
Date:November 30th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
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We traveled through Arkansas on our way to Texas last fall. It's a beautiful state and, rock nut that I am, I really want to go dig diamonds some day. My husband is from Florida so forgive him when he asked, "What's a razorback?"

Even I know the pig call (because I raised pigs) so I demonstrated.

Damned if there wasn't someone else at the rest stop hooting back.
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From:djner
Date:November 30th, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
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Did you give him an answer. Razorbacks actually exist in the wild. I guarantee you, I wouldn't want to be on the business end of those tusks. I had planned to post a picture of a razorback in this post, but wanted to get the right one, and didn't have anyone to tell me if it was good or not.

There's even a razorback shaped bus/car/water called, I think, the razormobile. There are definitely crazy fans out there, course there are crazy fans everywhere right?

Thanks for the comment.
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From:mme_furiosa
Date:November 30th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
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Delightful, as per usual.
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From:djner
Date:December 3rd, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC)
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I love the word delightful. Thanks for your words, I hope I can keep it going :).
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From:sunnyblue
Date:November 30th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
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Too bad they didn't let Malzahn do his thing. You should have seen Springdale in 05. It could have been insanely awesome at the college level. Oh well.
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From:djner
Date:December 3rd, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
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That's hilarious, I got your comments as they morphed and refined itself. Yes, it would probably have been better with Malzon. Nutt kind of shot himself in the foot for sure.

Run it down the middle. It works, but dang, we need a passing game.
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From:lacombe
Date:December 2nd, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)
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::: laughs :::

This is your best Idol entry to date, methinks. :-) You have such an awesome, sincere spirit! As always, my friend, you have my vote.
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From:djner
Date:December 3rd, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
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Glad you enjoyed it man. I have more improvements to go, but at least, for now, I'm making it, and am not close to getting eliminated yet. Don't get your hopes down about your writing, you can make it.

Ner's Random Musings on a life of interesting insights

a world of interesting factoids about nothing and everything