As we go through a week with 0-3 in the conference on our minds and have to wait until Saturday and Auburn to get things hopefully back on track, I thought I would take the opportunity to show the Razorbackexpat community a favorite piece of my Razorback collection and share some words about our wonderful mascot.
I have Hog logo ball caps, shirts, sweats, a newer version of the Hog hat, a Razorback bookend, a towel that says "Cuddle Up With A Razorback," a framed edition of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette's sports page when the Hogs beat the Horns in the Cotton Bowl, a Hog doll that plays the fight song when you squeeze his hoove, and a Razorback pen that lights up red when you push the top in. Oh, yeah, I also have a Hog embossed window scrapper for those cold mornings when garage envy sets in. But that is not the oddest or, haha, by no means the coolest part of my collection.
The most unique piece of Hawgbilia that I have was created over two thousand years before the Hogs took the field in any sport. I give you the obverse of a coin minted in the 3rd century BC (insert your even older than Frank Broyles joke here) in what was then a Greek colony of Italy. An image of Zeus is on the other side.
This is the Calydonian boar that ravaged the hills and hollers of ancient Greece until Hercules finally subdued it. And only Hercules could! My prompt for purchasing it was how much the boar on the coin resembled our hog that jumps through the "A," one of my favorite Razorback logos.
During televised games I have put the coin up to the tv wishing for some luck, but results have only been mixed thus far. There seems to be too many teams in the SEC with more than one Hercules on the roster.
I think it is a well known story how Hugo Bezdek gave us the mascot of the Razorback, and how before we were known as the Cardinals. I think we owe Hugo a big Woo Pig Sooie for that change. A wild hog is a much better match to the state than a cardinal could ever be. A brief counting of the ways:
1.) There is no other state exactly like Arkansas. So it is befitting that we should have an unique mascot. Cardinals are way too common as mascots go.
2.) Arkansas is a blue collar, still largely rural, working class state. An animal that doesn't mind the dirt seems fitting to be our mascot.
3.) People don't first associate the word "intelligent" when they think of hogs, but they are mistaken, for a hog is one of nature's more intelligent animals. Unfortunately, people don't naturally associate intelligence with the state of Arkansas. But many Arkansans have proven that line of thinking wrong.
4.) Related to number three, the outside world going back to before statehood to present day Jay Leno monologues rather looks down on the state for backwardness. The wild hog is not a New York or Connecticut type of mascot. But by adopting the Razorback as our own, it seems like we have taken ownership of sorts of the "backwardness" charge and have made the image of the hog a source of pride. Suffice-to-say, I just don't think we Arkansans would have hooked atoms with the cardinal like we have with the hog.
I hope you will tell about your favorite Hog related items in the comment section, or where you might have found an image of our mascot in a strange place. And I would welcome reading your take on Arkansas and its ties with the Razorback mascot.
But before I go, I leave you with one more Hog related connection to the ancient world as part of this Show and Tell. I took this picture inside Vatican City of Eddie Sutton (the hair) back from when he was a Roman basketball coach. The story is that his teams inside the Coliseum literally beat the lions, the bears, and the tigers, haha.