About a decade ago, I wandered into a Jonesboro chain restaurant and was greeted by an obnoxious shrine to the Arkansas Razorbacks – a ceramic and velvet-stuffed menagerie of Hog merchandise that stretched from floor to ceiling.
Naturally, I did the courageous thing and groused about it online. To my surprise, I discovered that an entire community of likeminded malcontents existed, each harboring the same unsettling gripe: why should a business in Jonesboro invest so heavily into the interests of a school 200 miles to the west?
That was a long time ago. Since then, Jonesboro has more or less circled the wagons behind the University that provides them the most sustenance and finds me grateful for it. Yet, the caustic acid of mixed allegiances sometimes rises from the lower intestine. I take my Tums and bear it. I grind two between my teeth when a certain A-State educated Little Rock sports personality gushes about the Razorbacks on Twitter while barely acknowledging the Red Wolves’ existence. It’s not worth the indigestion.
Recent developments concerning the athletic fortunes of the western leaning school has generated confusion among some of us. Not all. Just some. Before we proceed, congratulations, Western School. You’ve done well. Great. I raise a glass to your success. But also, that’s your business.
Rather than patiently explain when it’s appropriate for an Arkansas State alum to cheer for the Razorbacks, I put together this “decision” chart in an effort to make myself more clear.
You might say, “Rules, were the cleat on the other foot, would not Razorbacks fans cheer for us?” To that, I ask you, how many Razorbacks fans filled their social feeds with Red Wolves praise during our bowl stretches? How many know the name “Norchad Omier?” Do you know a Razorbacks fan with a Red Wolves sweatshirt hanging his or her closet?
I didn’t trademark this, so please feel free to share it with anyone experiencing Fan Confusion – an elderly uncle, your co-worker, a Channel 7 sportscaster, or even a member of the Arkansas State Board of Trustees. Nobody should live life perpetually confused.
PHOTO CREDIT: MINE