From the lowest of interns and on up, from Raz at the crystal ball (which I truly hope is foggy given his latest prediction) to John on the West Coast, Stephen on the East Coast, and me in middle, we want to wish you all a safe journey home and a very Happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Out of all the holidays, I think Thanksgiving is best in-tune with this website, for Thanksgiving is so much about coming home, and if you are an Arkansas expat, no matter where you are located, there is probably no more powerful symbol of home than the Arkansas Razorbacks and the call of "Woo Pig Sooie." I am thankful that this website exists to share our Razorback connection with one another, and there are so many other Razorback related things that I am thankful for as well. So I thought I would start a list and ask that you continue it in the comment section with your own addition(s).
THE CURRENT TEAM:
1.) Bobby Petrino - He got a lot of grief by the way he came to Arkansas, but he has been nothing but a determined coach and class act since he got here. Thanks, Bobby, for all that you've put into making the Hogs what they are today. Win or lose come Friday, we know you will have put all that you have into the game, and we can't ask for more than that.
2.) The 17 Seniors - Guys that knew what a 5-7 season tasted like and decided they didn't want anymore of that, and each year they've taken the Hogs further and further beyond 5-7. A lot of seniors have had their tenure at Arkansas end in defeat. Here is hoping that you guys end your years here with the biggest win in Arkansas history since Frank Broyles' 1964 team defeated the Cornhuskers in the Cotton Bowl for a National Championship.
3.) Dennis Johnson's Determination - I've never had my bowel ripped open, but I can imagine that I would want to stay miles away from anything that could cause that to happen a second time. Dennis Johnson could have said goodbye to football, but I am so thankful that he did not do so, and that we have him back for the dual role of return man and running back.
4.) Jake Bequette and Tank Wright - Thankful for their determination as well and how they've brought themselves back from injury to play again this season.
5.) The Second Half of the Texas A&M Game - One score at a time, the Hogs as a team showed us what steely determination they have no matter how gloomy it might seem at the moment. A special thank you to Broderick Green in this game, who came off the injury bench to give us the needed ground game to secure a victory.
6.) All Three of Joe Adams' Punt Returns - He has out done himself with each new return for a touchdown, which makes you even more wishful to see the next.
7.) Brandon Mitchell - For being a good teammate and not leaving the team when Tyler Wilson won the starting job. Thanks for all you do, Brandon, largely behind the scenes, to make the team better.
8.) The Unheralded Razorbacks - I am thankful for the guys who don't make all the big headlines, but still work hard and contribute to this team's success. Backups, scout team members, trainers, equipment guys, you all deserve acknowledgement of your work. Garrett Uekman was not the most well known Razorback by the fans, but recent days and tweets have shown us how much he meant to the team. It is not hard to imagine that there are others less known just like him.
9.) Tyler Wilson - In the past, Razorback fans could count on a drop-off from veteran quarterback to the new guy. That is not the case with this succession of quarterbacks. Even though Ryan left a high bar here at Arkansas, Tyler has exceeded my expectations with how he has lived up to that bar and even raised it to a higher level.
10.) The Month of November - I mention the whole month, for it has been a month of continued focus and improvement from game to game. A slip up in any one of the last three games, and the Hogs would not be sitting at No. 3 in the BCS. Thanks, Hogs, for making November a month to Remember, as they say. And I don't need to tell you that one more victory in this month of November and you will have achieved a level of Hog immortality that I think might be beyond your ability to imagine fully.
11.) My first Razorback game ever, a stomping of Pacific University in War Memorial Stadium. Much younger versions of myself, my brother, and my parents attended it together.
12.) The 2003 Independence Bowl, older versions of my family went to Shreveport and watched the Hogs beat Missouri. I still can see in my mind's eye Cedric Cobbs making his last touchdown as a Hog. The dingy hotel room we stayed in Shreveport has gone down in family lore as a great family joke. I still scratch myself when thinking about it!
13.) Watching on television the Seven Overtimes in Oxford with my mother and brother and our group hugs after each escape and on to the next overtime. My father arrived home from work to see us in our exhausted state and told us how the whole mill had nearly shutdown during the game.
14.) I will always be thankful that I saw the year 2000 arrive while in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl. My father is not a big fan of going to games, but he has yet to see a Razorback game where the Hogs lost. We attribute the victory over Texas in part to him being in the stands.
15.) Thankful for the companionship with a Razorback expat in a Nashville bar as we watched the Hogs get destroyed by Georgia in the SEC Championship game. I have long since forgotten that guy's name, but it was good to have a fellow fan to suffer with and not suffer alone there amongst a large crowd of Georgia fans.
16.) Attending the Liberty Bowl with my mother and brother as well as with a good friend and his wife and father. I am sure the temperature will drop each time we retell that night in Memphis.
17.) Another game, involving the same friend, was the 2003 win in Austin over Texas. I was a house guest in Indianapolis where I was told that we could get the Hogs vs. Texas. Hmm. It turned out that we were too deeply inside Big Ten country to get the Hogs and ended up getting updates by telephone calls from Arkansas and updates on the internet, ESPN Gametracker. Even though I missed seeing the game live, I am still thankful for the memory created that day. In a strange way, I think it became more memorable for not being able to see it live.
18.) Thankful for being there in 2006 when Gameday came to Fayetteville. We had the Little Rock package already bought and paid for, but we decided during the summer why not purchase one single game ticket in Fayetteville. We were just fortunate that we picked the Tennessee game, not having any way of knowing at the time that it would be Gameday's destination for that weekend.
RAZORBACK STUFF, BUT MORE THAN MERE STUFF:
19.) I think I have a Razorback ball cap for just about every member of the team itself! haha. But I am thankful for each and every one of them, for they came as gifts from people who know how much I love the Hogs.
20.) The little running Razorback, missing one eye, that sits on my window ledge at my office. I've had him since I was a child and will have him until I see my last Razorback game.
21.) The front page of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette sports page from January 2nd 2000. I have it framed.
22.) An original Lou Holtz doll. Yeah, I have one, haha. I found it in an Arkansas antique shop still in its plastic wrapper. They wanted only ten bucks for it, so I scooped up this piece of Razorback history. I then found a picture of the doll from the late 70s inside one of my Razorback history books. It was selling for $8.95 back then. Lou has gone up in value just a dollar and a nickel, haha.
23.) George Cole's signature from a 1920s Razorback yearbook.
24.) Ticket stubs from just about every Razorback game that I've been to.
I HOPE FOR ITEMS:
20.) A front page of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette from January 10th 2012 declaring the Hogs the national champions. What a busy week it will be for frame shops across the state!
21.) T-shirts, hats, deck of cards, back-scratchers, spoons, drinking glasses, sun glasses, rugs, curtains, haha, you name it, things with Arkansas National Champions on it, I'll buy it up! Hear that retailers? haha.
Okay, I am passing the ball to you. What more should we be thankful for as Razorback fans? What are you personally thankful for? Memories. Moments. Items. What you got?