It is hard to believe that it has been a year since I wrote my first dispatch from War Memorial. The calendar pages have flipped and flipped again to bring college football back to the Hogs' second home. And with the aim of providing something of a feel for what it was like to be there, I give you with these notes / observations. But before we get into my notebook, in honor of this one year anniversary of being a bonefied blogger, let me send a thank you out to John and Stephen, the original expats, for inviting me to write along here and for all they've done to keep a red and white, Woo Pig Sooie!, Hog loving, Hog despairing portion of cyberspace up and always running. Thanks! Guys.
1.) Did anyone mistakenly take a Mississippi State ticket to the game? You could have done so if you weren't paying close attention to how the tickets were placed in the new fancy ticket book. One of our Missouri State tickets was on the first page along with a Mississippi State ticket. On the second page, the same set-up. Why not keep it simple, and put all the first game tickets on the first page? I didn't vote for Buchannan in Florida in 2000, but I can still see where one could mistakenly grab the wrong tickets. It didn't help any that the logo on the tickets is not the opposing team's logo, but one of the many versions of the Hog over the last 100 years.
2.) It was a hot, very humid, pants hugging night. People who had the intelligence to wear shorts (myself not included) were the envy of many.
3.) Another sartorial observation here. Would it help if I got Tim Gunn from Project Runway to call Fayetteville and tell them that the Hogs need their red stripes back on their pants? I think he would agree with me that we look less like ballerinas in tights when we have a red stripe going down the side.
4.) One of the great pleasures of going to a football game in a small state is running into old friends. A shout out here to the Arkansans I saw and know: Shannon and Stephanie Banks, whom I fortunately ran into twice, Julie (used to be Jeffers), the Halls - Dink, Linda, Steven, and Hayden. Mark White and his sons, I know you were there. Sorry I didn't run into you. Someone we all know, Jason Sasser, was the first caller on the radio program before the game.
5.) Houston Nutt, you are not alone. There was a "Fire Blanche Lincoln.Com" banner that flew over War Memorial. Does this mean that Senator Blanche will soon be running a Senate Office in Mississippi?
6.) Still amazed at how there are seemingly 50,000 different ways to put your support of the team on a t-shirt. Rarely did you see the same Hog merchandise twice.
7.) Someone brought their own siren to their tailgate. And they weren't shy about sounding it. If you are out there and reading this, was that really necessary?
8.) Gone is the "Waste Management" or "War Memorial" logo from the center of the field. Rightly so, there is now a big, red hog there. Yellow goal posts, another new edition. And they now run out on the field with a flag that has the 100 years of Razorbacks logo on it.
9.) Former Razorback cheerleader, super fan, and award winning author, E. Lynn Harris, was honored in the cheerleading section of the program. I thought that was nice. I hope they do something at one of the halftimes to honor his memory.
10.) If you went to the game, you got reminded a thousand times that there are still tickets available to go see the Hogs play Texas A&M in Jerry Land. Something tells me the high price tickets have not led to an outpouring of orders.
11.) Dennis Johnson started the season the best way you can. Do any of our Hog historians know if the Hogs have ever started a season before with a run back on the opening kick-off?
12.) The North Endzone crowd was in love with the at one time 9 for 9 Ryan Mallett by the end of the game. Wilson impressed us as well. Might Mallett really live up to the hype? One gets giddy thinking that he just might.
13.) My source from the South Endzone said the fans were calling Broderick Green "Tip Toe Green." Broderick, the fight song says "Hit" that line. Let's get this corrected because you are too talented to be too timid.
14.) Bubba Hog flopping his belly and waving his shirt, beach balls, and the wave kept the fans occupied as the Hogs started racking up points.
15.) Did we recruit a 19th century Prussian general to play for us? That was my thought when I heard Van Stumon had made a touchdown. Is there a handle bar mustache under that face grill?
16.) Well, I guess you can't really call it the start of the season without there being some special teams miscues and some Tejada flakiness. But I do give him credit for getting the two field goals and all his extra points. However, the first extra point was mighty close to hitting the upright. I had flashbacks to last year.
17.) Poor London. Last year this was the scene of his greatest moment. To see him get hurt was a sad thing to watch. The guy sitting next to me and I tried to play Dr. Endzone, Medicine Fans. He had a much more optimistic, just the wind knocked out of him, take on things. We now know it won't be as simple as that.
18.) Just what was going on with the guy who carried the mysterious black garbage bag back and forth from up above us? Some upper endzone body part voodo ritual? I thought those only went on at LSU games.
19.)The consensus was that we all enjoyed this way of starting a season better than the drama filled way of last year. But this was only Missouri State, that thought went along with it as well.
20.) Were we just not wanting to be too fancy and show too much to Georgia, or will our redzone offense struggle again this year?
21.) The game ended pretty close to my original just before the game 44-14 prediction.
22.) The fans started their exit to the parking lots around the beginning of the fourth quarter. My mother and I stayed the whole time. Why not soak all of this up was our thinking? Even if it was just Missouri State, how many games have we seen like this lately?
23.) A bit out of order here, but I don't want to forget to mention that the band did a tribute to Southern Rock (Lynrd Skynrd and CCR) at halftime. Thought for a moment that the new band director was about to make a serious Arkansas faux pas when the PA announcer said the next song was Skynrd's great hit enjoyed by all in the South, something like that. Were they really going to play "Sweet Home Alabama" at an Arkansas game? I mentioned this to my neighbors and they were thinking the same thing. For the sake of the band director's hide, it was "Free Bird" instead. Our mullets certainly would have been ruffled if it had been "Sweet Home."
24.) In passing out of the stadium, a woman and an elderly woman cut in front of me so they could use the guide rail down. I told them I didn't mind at all. The younger lady said that the older lady has been going to War Memorial games for nearly sixty years. I joked that she must have seen both a lot of the good and the bad of the Hogs. I hope that I can be an old man someday at War Memorial in need of a rail to hold on to. Arkansas and the Powers That Be, please hold on to the War Memorial tradition. It is worth keeping.
25.) Bobby Petrino, welcome to 6-7 at Arkansas. Thanks for the better opening this year. It was a joy. Now just hit .500 two weeks from now in Fayetteville against the Georgia fans that love you and think warm and sweet thoughts about you always and forever amen.