[dropcap]Autumn[/dropcap] is upon us and I’m kicking it off right by making a deal with hundreds of family and friends, not to mention thousands of strangers.
But I’ll get to that in a minute.
I grew up in Arkansas. I attended the University of Arkansas. I was an active member of a sorority at said university. I lived within walking distance of Razorback stadium for, conservatively, twenty games, and within driving distance for at least ninety. So that means what I’m about to share is going to hurt.
I have never witnessed the Razorbacks win a game.
Not in real life. Not on TV. I don’t think I ever even savored a “W” via radiowaves.
Serious cloud-making for them Hogs, let me tell you. The first game I attended as a college student was against the Florida Gators. Ouch. I sat in the stands with my dad, faces into the afternoon sun, while Gators ate pork BBQ. As in 42-7, Gators. They went on to win the SEC and the National Championship.
That was 1996. Since then, things haven’t really brightened up for me, football-wise. Luckily for all concerned, I haven’t been able to watch, attend or listen to every Razorback game, so they’ve managed to wrangle some wins behind my back — in between serious heartbreakers, that is.
Remember November 14, 1998? The 9th-ranked Hogs strolled into Knoxville with an 8-0 record and held the 1st-ranked Vols to 24-22 with 1:43 left to play, whereupon the late, great Brandon Burlsworth was shoved into quarterback Clint Stoerner. Stoerner stumbled, fumbled and Tennessee recovered for the game-winning touchdown. The Vols went on to a National Championship, while in Arkansas hearts bled all over the state. In Razorback red, of course.
The time has come for me to confess my guilt as an accessory to this horrible crime.
You see, I was listening on the radio as we drove from a friend’s wedding service to her reception. But for me, the reception might have been different. (Tracy, I’m very sorry. If some guests seemed unnecessarily somber on such a joyful occasion, it is my fault.)
On the bright side, the next year, Stoerner and the Hogs came back to redeem themselves by defeating Tennessee 28-24. I don’t remember anything about the game, though. Oh, right. I missed that one.
Do you see a pattern emerging?
Lest you think all this is an ancient precedent and unrelated to recent history, dredge up October 17, 2009. The Razorbacks faced the undefeated (again) Florida Gators. My husband was away on a hiking trip. I was doing laundry during naptime. Bored, I turned on the TV and noticed — holy cannoli — the Hogs were beating the Gators.
The Hogs. Were Beating. The Gators.
Their lead was impressive. Only seven minutes remained on the clock. Surely, I thought, they’ll win and I can finally break my streak!
Please file that between “I really thought I was sober enough to drive,” and “This cheesecake doesn’t look all that fattening.”
Needless to say, the Hogs’ lead ebbed away faster than the clock and Tim Tebow laughed all the way to the Heisman Trophy. Even the eventual suspension of the officials for bad calls in Florida’s favor proved no balm in Fayetteville.
I’m sorry. I really, really am.
Which brings me to my point. I have, for the 2010 season, renewed my commitment to support Razorback football by enforcing complete and total personal abstinence from anything which might negatively impact the outcome of a game.
Therefore, I solemnly swear not to watch, listen to or otherwise monitor the outcome of a game. Neither will I DVR a game to watch later. (I think I might be able to get away with that once or twice, but I’m sure eventually it would catch up with me.)
Fellow Alumni and fans, please do not take this as a sign of ambivalence about my alma mater; I’ll be calling the Hogs on the inside. But I’m doing the nearest and most needful thing I can to ensure that you — and every Hog fan other than myself — can enjoy the 2010 season.
I can only pray the streak ends before my sons’ football allegiances are compromised. We live in Oklahoma, for crying out loud. Danger lurks at every turn.
In the meantime, I’m taking nominations to choose a new “home team.” My new team will be the object of obsessive game-watching, cheering and obnoxious merchandise in the complete confidence this team’s season will go up in a spectacular fireball of ignominious defeat.
I know many of you superstitious fans would do anything to crimp the style of your team’s arch rival, so here’s your chance to nominate the next worst team in collegiate football.
All team nominations should be accompanied by cash donations in small bills. [1. To calculate the suggested donation for your team of choice: (total # of wins for the five previous seasons x 5) – 10 for schools with a change in head coach within the last two years x (# of National Championships + # of Conference Championships + # of Heisman Trophy winners from the last 10 years) = suggested donation in USD. Nominations for the following teams will incur double the suggested donation to cover the cost of post-game vomit bags and psychotherapy: Florida Gators, Tennessee Volunteers, and Texas Longhorns.] I can’t guarantee outcomes but you have 33 years of unblemished reputation to assuage your doubts. Trust me, it’s in the bag.[hr]