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Zen and the Art of Hog Maintenance

After swallowing two very bitter pills of SEC defeat here in the last two weeks, none as bitter as the last one for obvious reasons, I thought I would consult the "The Little Zen Companion" that I keep by my bedside. Maybe some wisdom from the Far East can help us come to terms with this bad season in the Southeastern Conference. Here's what I found, with commentary.


Ten years' searching in the deep forest. Today great laughter at the edge of the lake. Soen

Hopefully we are closer to the lake than being in the middle of a deep forest. A rebuilding year, a deep forest, both frustrating and seemingly at times, but mistakenly so, all there is to the world.

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul. Simone Weil

Who says the French don't understand anything but cheese and existentialism. This seems to me to be a clear look into the optimism that fuels the American sports fan. As for the Hogs, let the light come down someday in early December through the roof of the Georgia dome.

When someone tosses you a tea bowl - catch it! Catch it nimbly with soft cotton - with the soft cotton of your skillful mind! Bankei

Coach Petrino annouced today that after lunch Arkansas' receivers caught most of the tea bowls thrown at them, but their skillful minds still have much room for improvement. A tea bowl did glance off one reciever's fingers and was intercepted by a passing waiter. A sidenote, my friend Shannon in Louisiana said I should include my observation that at least Clint during the PPV didn't ever drop his microphone while on air. This observation was made in the full spirit of black humor as things weren't look good for the Hogs.

The whole of life lies in the verb seeing. Teilhard De Charden

As much as football is a contest of strength and will, it is also a contest of who has the best set of eyes. Our Hogs right now are just not the best seers on the field. I should add neither are some of those SEC refs!

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself. Chinese Proverb

The nature of fans being there just for the tests, i.e. gameday, and the advent of closed practices mean we see very little of the opening of the door. We don't know if our players are unable to get through a wide open door or find themselves trying to squeeze through a nearly closed one. The latter is what many of us suspected was the case with the former coaching regime.

It is not the same to talk of bulls as to be in the bullring. Spanish Proverb

But surely there must be a bull talking student on campus who can kick the pigskin into the endzone during kickoffs! Texas Tech found a field goal kicker out of the student body for just extra-points. Couldn't we find someone for something that is even simpler than the making of extra-points?

Lovely snowflakes, they fall nowhere else! Zen saying

Lovely red and white helmets with a fierce looking hog on them, nobody else in college football wears them. The good and the bad, the victories and the defeats, they are all uniquely ours as Hog fans. And nobody (not even a ref.) can take that away. I think we can take some comfort in that.

The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self. Albert Einstein

He knew physics and the key ingredient to what you need to form a successful football team. Michael Smith seems to be our most liberated player at the moment. He is certainly giving everything he has for his team.

Things are entirely what they appear to be and behind them . . . there is nothing. Sartre

My rational mind accepts the fundamental truth of this statement. But the what-ifs of the last two games make me also think like Ahab, that something menacing that must be destroyed, is behind the pasteboard masks of these football games that we keep losing.

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. Shakespeare

So the Bard of Avon is saying that fundamentally winning and losing don't really exist outside of our minds; it is just playing that exists. Hmm. Probably a good approach to the rest of the season. Try to think less about the W-L standings and just appreciate that the season is here and the Hogs are playing each week. Good idea in theory, but I doubt I accomplish it much in practice as I would like.

Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind. Zen saying

When the Hogs get closer to this state under Bobby Petrino, we can expect the win column to turn into a much prettier sight than it is now.

How can you think and hit at the same time? Yogi Berra

In other words, it has to come natural, a natural state, to be successful. I think Hog fans everywhere are hoping that being an SEC QB will come more natural to Ryan Mallet than it has for Casey Dick. Colt McCoy right now is someone who exemplifies a player who seems to have captured a natural flow to what he is doing on the field.

No one's mouth is big enough to utter the whole thing. Alan Watts

Not even Craig O'Neill's mouth! Haha. Saturday's game was one game, in one season, with one set of players, under one coach. In no way does it speak for the entire past, present, and future of the football program at the University of Arkansas. The world is too big to be defined by the utterances of one person, and the Hogs aren't going to be defined solely by one loss, even if it was to Houston Nutt. There's much more to be seen and heard out of the Hogs. And there will indeed be plenty of it that we'll enjoy. We are just going to have to have Zen stoicism here in the near future.