I know and understand that many (most?) are tired of looking backward at our recent coaches, and prefer to look forward to Sam’s era. In general, I’m right there with them.
But for some random reason, I just thought of something I hadn’t before, and it kind of put a chill down my spine (not in a good way).
During the course of this pandemic, we’ve all had things we value, love and cherish (in a variety of ways) taken from us and our loved ones. Of course, the really, really important ones relate to the health of our family, friends and loved ones along with economic impact to that same group and our local community in general. And that’s plenty, to the point that we often don’t get beyond those thoughts on a day to day basis (over the last 3-4 months).
Secondary to those concerns is how the flow of our lives has been dramatically altered from the life all of us have known for our entire existence. Even the routine of just getting up and going to work or school has been ripped away from tens of millions. Those fortunate enough to still have work now (mostly) do it remotely, and kids have had to adjust similarly. And then there is the social impact - no work/school means no personal interaction with friends and associates we’re used to seeing on a daily basis. Same with church community. Meals now consumed 100% at home, even if picked up somewhere else. No leisurely meals out with friends, or trips to the movies, etc.
For sports fans - and that’s most of us, in one way or another, there has been the additional “mourning” of losing the ability to follow your favorite team. Heck - to watch any games at all…even involving teams you don’t like! When you’re a BIG sports fan (as I would categorize most on boards like this), this is especially difficult. Some of us (raises hand) are older and at a time in life when there is little family around. For “us”, the Razorback community fills a large part of that void. Sure, you’d rather win but even if your team is losing, it’s something to be passionate about, follow, discuss with others and then see what happens.
For me, personally, I never realized how much I would miss the 25-30 times a year I’d connect with my Razorback watching buddies here in DFW to watch games. It turns out I not only miss the games themselves, but I miss the interaction with the guys and the continuous dialogue about what just happened, what needs to happen and the associated debates (kind of like we have here). Boards like this are good therapy, but I do miss actually going to watch the games.
Really, all we’ve had is the hope that things will improve enough that we can start playing real games again this fall (football). We’re all anxious to see what kind of product Sam puts on the field, and that normal anticipation for a new coach has been increased because we didn’t even get to see a spring practice period for a preview. The only thing that has buoyed us at all is the promise of improvement, the positivity coming from Sam, his staff and the comments of these kids he is recruiting. No, it won’t happen over-night. But I think almost everyone sees that improvement - tangible improvement - is coming sooner than later.
So this is the sobering thought I’d been too busy with more important things than to think about. Not exactly Einstein stuff - but something that occurred to me this morning.
What if we had NOT fired Morris at the end of last season? How would Razorback Nation have come through this dark period without even the glimmer of hope that hiring Pittman has given us?
Had Morris and his staff imparted ANY noticeable improvement to the team during his 2 years, he’d be back and most would still be willing to have kept him - understanding as we did when he came in that he had a big turnaround job to do.
But, they didn’t. In fact, they were arguably worse at the end than they had been when he first got here. Up until the last 2 or 3 weeks before he was canned, I was in the corner of saying “we just CAN’T fire a coach after just 2 years”, but the fiascoes coming down the stretch vs. MSU and especially Western Kentucky changed my mind. He HAD to go.
I never root for us to lose, for ANY reason. And I didn’t then. But in retrospect, I can say that I’m SO glad that we let him go and brought Sam in. So I’m thankful for whatever it was that made that happen. I shudder to think of the state of Arkansas football after this pandemic if Morris were still at the helm. Thank goodness he isn’t.