[Your Favorite Sports Team] Nation is not a democracy. It’s run by a small cabal of decision-makers serving a variety of masters – with ordinary fans often having the least influence. Because the decision-making is a thankless job that invites relentless criticism, it’s not unusual for programs to batten the hatches and work in a soundless vacuum.
Wednesday’s “State of the Pack,” which is open to any Red Wolves fan with the technical capability to operate ZOOM video conferencing, appears to be a promising attempt to bring the masses back into the process. Will it be messy? Perhaps! Inviting the dour neganistas who dominate Twitter and message boards to a face-to-face discussion of planning and policy could produce a reign of terror unseen since, well, the Reign of Terror.
But it’s the right thing to do, risks be damned. For several seasons now, rank-and-file fans have felt excluded from the loop – expected to foot the bills with season tickets and the purchase of Red Wolves merchandise, but left largely in the dark with regards to the program’s intentions. Worse, there is a perception (fair or not) that a small circle of well-heeled fans are benefiting from the luxury boxes and top amenities while hardworking fans are left sitting on steel bleachers to cheer on a product that has clearly fallen behind the rest of the Sun Belt.
An open forum “State of the Pack” won’t repair the discontent outright, but it is a significant step to take for
Athletic Director Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Jeff Purinton, whose predecessor was a closed door. Will Purinton “open the kimono” and reveal all the challenges plaguing Arkansas State Athletics? Or will be keep details close to the vest while encouraging fans to “stay the course?”
The latter may be more managerial and strategic, but also unsatisfying. Fans want to know how Arkansas State intends to compete in a Sun Belt growing in strength. Fans are nosy that way. What fans should accept, however, is that it doesn’t all fall on Arkansas State. We need to step up as well. Local and regional business needs to get involved. Most of all, fans need to be an active part of the solution.
And we will – provided we feel part of the process. Fans need a vision. Former
Athletic Director Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Terry Mohajir was a bit of a carnival barker, but he gave fans something fantastic to reach – AP Top 25 and “the best G5 program” in the nation. Nobody says that anymore, especially in the front office. Where is the moxie? Wednesday would be a good moment to flash some of that Red Wolves arrogance that many of us Red Wolves fans use in tangent with school pride.
Listen, if you can’t give rank-and-file fans premium beers, stadium seating and a pretzel that wasn’t reheated sometime in the 1990s, at least provide a blueprint for on-field success. Some of us will scoff, as it is in some fans’ nature to lean negative. (You got to deal with those guys.) Many of us will seize on the dream and look for ways to make it happen. I promise, we want this program to succeed.
If A-State Legend and current NFL All-Pro Demario Davis can make time for this Zoom, then so can you. Hell, even if the “State of the Pack” is just 20 minutes of Davis injecting us with the awesome power of positivity, it will be worth it. But want I want most is a picture. Show me a Red Wolves sports program that engages and inspires me. Put that swagger back in my step! I’ll be listening.
You can register for the State of the Pack ZOOM by clicking right here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sun Belt