I wasn’t going to do this article, but I saw something as I was leaving the Arkansas vs Auburn game that just bothered me so much, I had to say something.
I’ll start by saying that there is no such thing as a “perfect fan,” and I definitely don’t claim to be one. But there are things you just don’t do. In any situation. This is from me and no one else. I love college football and the University of Arkansas, but there are some fans who make me embarrassed. I don’t understand some of the awful things that are said and done because of a loss.
As of the Auburn game, I have been to 7 Arkansas football games this year, including one in Tuscaloosa as a visiting fan. Going to that many games, you see things that you try to ignore or laugh off. But I reached my limit when I was leaving the game last night. A girl who was an Arkansas fan told a couple from Auburn to “Get back on the Gus-Bus and get the **** out of here.” I was stunned and I think they were too. This couple was quietly walking back to their car, minding their own business, not even talking about the game. As my roommate and I were turning to walk up the hill to our dorm, we made sure to tell the couple thanks for coming to the game and to have a safe drive back home. I wasn’t about to let them think that one girl represented the whole fan base or the university I call home. Because she doesn’t. I want fans who come to cheer their team on in DWRRS to have a good time and tell their friends at home how beautiful the stadium and campus are and how great the Arkansas fans are. (I hope soon they will say that even when we beat their team into the ground.) I want them to want to come back.
I went to Tuscaloosa a couple weeks ago and watched Arkansas get beat 52-0, and I had a great experience on the campus of Alabama. I wasn’t afraid to walk around in my Arkansas shirt and hat because all the ‘Bama fans I met were friendly and thanked us for taking the time to come to the campus and the game. I’m sure that was partly because they knew what the outcome would be, but that shouldn’t matter.
Whenever you are wearing a Hog or Tiger or Bulldog or Gator or an A, LSU, M, T, K, SC, V, A&M or G on you shirt, you are representing your university and the entire SEC. And you should take pride in that. Pride in the 7 consecutive national championships. Pride in the athletes who play. Pride in the tradition of excellence. There are 14 members of this conference, but we are one conference. I know that leads to some unfriendly rivalries, mean words, and very strong feelings. And don’t get me wrong, rivalries are one of the best parts of college football, but you should never take out a loss on fans of the other team. Especially if they are visiting fans. That old rule of “treat people how you want to be treated” applies here.
I hope that Auburn couple told their friends about that rude Arkansas girl, but also about how two other Arkansas girls showed them that we were the rule while the other girl was the exception. I hope they had a great stay in Fayetteville and that they loved the stadium, and that they come back in two years. I love to see fans come to Arkansas because it shows how much they care about and love their teams. Those are the fans who make college football great.
So, thanks to all the Ragin’ Cajuns, Bulldogs, Golden Eagles, Aggies, Gamecocks and Tigers who have made the trip to Arkansas to cheer on their teams. (And I hope the Mississippi State fans who go to Little Rock in a couple weeks have a great time as well.) I know I don’t speak for everyone and that I’m just one person, but it means a lot to me that you took the time to come, whether your team won or lost. I hope you had a great time on our beautiful campus (or in Little Rock), and I’m sorry there are so many hills :). I hope you come back and bring friends. And if you see me in my furry hog hat that has pockets, please say hi and we can talk some football. I’d love to hear what you have to say.