Life of a Hog fan in 3 hours

At the Ole Miss game Saturday I became amused by and interested in the running monologue of a fan sitting behind me. Normally, this sort of thing annoys me while I try to concentrate on the game, but this was different. He seemed to be living the long life of a Razorback fan in one intense three-hour stretch of time. His experience during that one game was a microcosm of everything we fans feel over decades of following our team. It was fascinating.
Here’s the story. It’s a little long, so bear with me.
Before the game, the guy was chatty and excited, talking optimistically to anyone who would listen about the team’s prospects against the Rebels. But as kickoff drew near, he began to fret — about the defense, the offensive line, Chad Kelly, the officials — and had convinced himself (and, presumably the rest of us who had no choice but to listen to him blather on) Arkansas had no chance to win.
During the first quarter, when things were mostly going the Hogs’ way, he was giddy: confident, loud and dismissive of Ole Miss as a whole. He loved the game plan, the performances of key players on both sides of the ball and, above all, Coach Bielema. He was a genius. And, oh yeah, Austin Allen? He should win the Heisman Trophy.
As things tightened up in the second quarter, he began complaining. The coaches were blowing it. The players were lazy or confused. It’s a wonder any of them kept their jobs or scholarships. The five-play, 90-yard scoring drive by the Rebels to tie the game at 20 just before halftime made him apoplectic for a moment (“Can’t we tackle anyone?”), then sullen and morose (“I knew this would happen. We just can’t finish games.”).
The second half started with a bang: An intercepted Chad Kelly pass (good) and a targeting foul on Arkansas (bad). Kelly was a villain getting what he deserved from the angelic Razorbacks and the SEC officials were just trying to steal another game from us. Bunch of cheaters, all of them!
As the 3rd and 4th quarters settled into a grind, this fellow got distracted, lecturing his young son that he should watch the game more closely (the irony escaped him), chatting with his companions about other topics and at one point even making a cell phone call to try to get his kid to talk to the poor soul on the other end of the line (who was probably attempting to watch the game on TV).
Then, Austin Allen, who just two hours earlier should be preparing a Heisman acceptance speech, threw an interception. Suddenly, he was the worst quarterback we ever had, and where is Rafe Peavey or Ty Storey or Cole Kelley when we needed one of them? Ole Miss scored to take the lead, and he said, “That’s it. This is my last game. I just don’t care any more.”
That lasted maybe five minutes. He cared deeply when Allen got sacked, screaming at the offensive linemen and coaches for their ineptitude and demanding someone be fired. He stood with teeth clinched and brow furrowed as Arkansas went for it on 4th and 4 and cheered wildly when Allen hit Keon Hatcher to keep the drive going. He jumped up and down and screamed as Hatcher caught an 11-yard pass on 3rd and 9 and again when Rawleigh Williams gashed the Rebels for 22 years down to the 6-yard-line with 3 minutes to go.
He groaned when Williams got no yards on the next play and went berserk moments later when Jared Cornelius bolted into the end zone to give the Hogs the lead.
For a guy who was attending his last game because he didn’t care any more, he was pretty excited.
Then came Ole Miss’ last possession. Kelly was going to do us what we did to them last year, revenge for the Henry Heave, he just knew.
Then Kelly got sacked on third down, setting up the game-deciding sequence. The crowd rose to the moment and the noise level went up. My guy did his part: yelling, clapping, stomping his feet before the snap on Ole Miss’ critical 4th and 16 play. Never mind that we were sitting in the east side indoor club and no one outside could hear him.
When Santos Ramirez separated Kelly from the ball, ending the Ole Miss drive, this man went berserk again (he and about 73,000 other people). He hugged and high-fived everyone he could find, including me, whom he doesn’t know except for my bald spot, my occasional sidelong glances and infrequent responses to his rhetorical questions (“Are we ever going to beat Alabama?” “Someday, I hope.”)
He was near ecstasy (borderline erotic?) as the Hogs ran out the clock, expressing momentary panic when he thought there might be one second left on the clock on 4th down and we’d punt on the last play, get it blocked and lose anyway.
That fear evaporated when the players on both teams left their sidelines to meet at midfield, the clock expired and the fireworks commenced. There was more cheering, jumping, high-fiving, etc. for another solid three minutes.
As the crowd around us started to disperse to go celebrate, this exhausted fan tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Sorry if I yelled in your ear too much.” I replied, “No problem, as long as we win.” He smiled, stuck out his hand and said, “That’s right. As long as we win. See you in a couple of weeks when we beat Florida.”
I guess he still cares after all.

Probably no different than most of the people in the stands and many more watching on TV. That is what it is to follow your college football team. It is what makes it special when you win a game like that and so tough when you don’t. Still, when the dust settles, you have to keep it in perspective. Most of us do, but not all.

Almost four hours in this case; game ended shortly before 10 pm.

You’re right. It was a long read. However, it was well worth it. An excellent capsule of what hog fans say & do at any given moment in a game, the season, the year. I suppose we’re no different from any other set of fans (except maybe at places like Alabama & Ohio St where winning is just expected & expectations are met.) Regardless, I have no doubt your description was accurate. Well written post. Thanks.

This is what makes me cringe when I hear similar (and worse) commentary in the stands at games. I can completely understand the up and down waves of emotion and throwing in some negativity at times. I do it too. Most of it for me though is trying to prepare myself for the worst (and sometimes superstition). What gets me about the multitude of people like this guy, is that you gotta take the highs and lows with your team. AA is an awesome QB, even after an interception for instance. I’ve never played organized football other than flag football so I’m no expert, but I do know that one year we had the best team in the league and it took HALF the season for everything to jell. That’s silly flag football! These are a group of high caliber athletes playing D1 ball in the best league/division in the land! It’s 11 kids trying to be as precise as they can, with blocking, identifying holes, making play fakes, looking off receivers, giving that extra STRAIN, body between the ball and DB, while the OTHER 11 guys try to thwart your efforts bending and sometimes successfully breaking rules…and vice versa. It’s a bit of controlled chaos out there IMO which makes it extra astonishing when you see Bama come in and make just about every play look like a well oiled machine. Every single play is not going to be perfect though, which is part of the reason we go bonkers when they do. It’s part of the fun of it. I don’t know why some fans think every single play should be perfect…reminds me of saban throwing his tantrums bc lowly ol’ Arkansas was completing some passes (I guess only shutouts make him happy).

While I’m at it, it makes me think of the vocal minority that call into talk shows. I live in S FL now so I don’t hear much of it anymore up there, but whenever I come home it’s just the same old stuff where people think they know better than the coaches and LO AND BEHOLD if we lose. The whole staff should be wiped out immediately. This lack of common sense and knowledge just absolutely blows my mind. It’s not just at Arkansas of course. I turn on sports radio on the way home sometimes and hear the Finebaum show and hear the same grumblings about all teams at times. This is a really nice staff we have. Do we need a new DC? I dunno, but CBB will figure it out. Those players want to represent their school, their state and win worse than any of us fans. I wish everyone could realize that and ease up just a bit. Maybe it’s bc I’m getting a bit older (40) and have a second child on the way. Losses still hurt, especially 14-13 losses to the tide, but not like they used to for me. There is life outside of our beloved Hogs. We may never win it all again but I personally feel lucky that my alma mater has a team I’m passionate about that plays in the best league in the land. Gotta take the good with the bad.

Sorry for the rant.

I know I am a horrible person to be around during a game in person or on TV. My family just looks at me in bewilderment and laughs. I was home in Hope watching game on TV with parents, brother, sister and their families. It got so bad at one point my niece started videoing me. Hope she doesn’t post that one. I can’t help it. It’s like being a drug addict. I just have so much passion for the Hogs and I’m 55 years old. WPS

I have NEVER heard intelligible commentary while sitting in the stands, and I’ve heard a lot of it. But I’ve also never heard anyone as bipolar as the OP enjoyed. What a mess.

I’ve never heard anyone - of the set who believes we’re all blessed to listen to his loud commentary - who was anything but negative. Why aren’t there any overtalkative superfans?

Just to clarify: I’m not trying to dis the guy. He was great. I was a little bothered by him at first, but it got to be pretty entertaining after awhile (except for the phone call business). My wife and I joked about him on the way home. He was far better than the drunk guy behind me a few years ago at a basketball game who excoriated Ky Madden for two solid hours. He was a jerk. The fellow Saturday night was just passionate and funny.

This is me. I am 53.

Confession time.

First, before anyone jumps me, we all handle things differently. I was pretty much dreading the game. The A&M and Bama games had really popped my bubble (not the outcomes, but the way we played).

All day I had said I expected to lose, my wife would just shake her head at me and say “we are going to win.” The first series. Allen is sacked (the line looks bad). I look at my wife and say, “I can’t do this” (I have been known to be a jerk during games, didn’t want to do that to her or put myself through it again), I go into the bedroom and watch a recorded episode of “NCIS.”

I go get us chicken wings for dinner. I eat in the bed room.

I do check the score on occasion but can’t watch the game. After eating, the 3rd quarter has started, so, I grab my phone and walk around the neighborhood. (I need the exercise anyway.) I walk for well over a mile. I am tired. I can’t go back in. I go to the back yard, build a fire in the fire pit.

My wife comes out, upset (turns out it was the AA inception that led to the Ole Miss go ahead score that upset her, I didn’t know it at the time.) She sits for a while, constantly checking the score on the game. She goes back in. I finally check the score again. The phone says we are ahead, Ole Miss has the ball, and it is 4th and 16. Waiting for an update. WAITING. WAITING. Finally it says Ole Miss fumbled and we have the ball (I had no idea what had actually gone down at that point.) I go inside and it is 3rd down and 25 and Ole Miss has just used its last time out.

So, I watched the first 3 plays, and the last play. :oops:

We had recorded the game, so I watch it right then. Amazing how much little stress there is to watching a game when you already know the outcome.

Go ahead, judge me. :smiley:

I basically did the same thing with the Bama game. I am hard to watch the Hogs with. Pro ball and my Chiefs, sure no problem. Hogs, just don’t say anything. Don’t apologize. Don’t try to console me. Just shut up and leave me alone.

Unless I’m at the game I prefer to watch it on TV alone. I don’t usually scream or jump up and down. Sometimes talk back to the announcers or something like that, but I prefer to be alone. If we are losing I mostly pout. What I don’t like at all is to be in a crowded room hearing everyone comment on the game or even hearing them talk at all. I want all my attention focused on the TV & don’t want someone distracting me. At the game, it’s a bit different. I don’t mind making or hearing short comments, but I don’t like hearing anyone go off on any of the coaches or players. I can’t stand the drunk or obnoxious fan who starts yelling at the players. Most of the people around where I sit aren’t too bad about doing that–fortunately.

I should have introduced myself, sorry !! Just kidding, however, he sounds a bit like me…my wife has reminded this week about all my comments during this game that we attended …a few good ones that i am embarrassed to disclose: I can’t do this any more…This is not any fun for me…I am not gonna make it…I hate this…and now my favorite and i quote myself, " I am never coming back here again "… !!! damn, that is just pitiful…and yes, of course, i will be there for the Florida game !!

Are you sure that wasn’t you behind me? :smiley:

I don’t have to worry about anyone calling or bothering me during a game (watching in the man cave) because my friends, relatives and children know I won’t respond if they did call/text, etc. My wife will ease around the corner to see the score and if the Hogs are ahead, she’ll bring in something to eat or drink but will not enter if we’re behind. I take the pain in silence (except for the TV) and the joy is heard around the neighborhood. I am a Hog Jekyll/Hyde but there is a bit of reform in temperament the last couple of years; when the game is over and if we lose, it’s gone from my head in a few minutes. Now a win will be celebrated and the DVR will show it over and over until the next season starts.