Tortured or apathetic? Analyzing how Arkansas fans truly feel
SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question of the Day: Thursday, November 9, 2017
If this is a yes-or-no question, the answer is a definite “No.”
This is Arkansas. The Razorbacks are this state’s heartbeat. With all due respect to Arkansas State, Little Rock, Central Arkansas, UA-Pine Bluff and the bevy of excellent college football being played at Division II schools across the Natural State, Arkansas is Razorbacks Nation.
I’m not even from Arkansas and I know that.
I write that sentence as a precursor to what I’m about to explain.
Apathy is a relative term in Arkansas.
I didn’t grow up here. Not technically. I grew up nine miles from the border on outskirts of the city limits of Stilwell, Okla. It’s the poorest town in the poorest county in the third-poorest state in the country. When you’re from Stilwell and you want to be fancy on the weekends, you drive to Fayetteville. It’s only about 40 minutes if you hoof it.
So, when I was in high school, we were in Fayetteville pretty much every weekend. When I was a pre-teen, my mom and dad brought my brother and me every other weekend. The Razorbacks were a constant part of my childhood. Between that and living here for six of the 10 years of my adult life, more than most any other state outsider, I get it. I understand that passion.
As such, I know that passion isn’t disappearing. It may wax. It may wane. Never, though, will it disappear.
If Arkansas fans ever get to the point anyone can, by definition, call them ‘apathetic,” there is no hope remaining. May as well start playing Arkansas State at that point, because if that’s bad — and only if it’s that bad — is there any chance Razorbacks fans would jump ship to root for the Red Wolves.
What Arkansas fans are, is tortured. Not apathetic. The elders reminiscence about the glory days of the 1960s and ’70s, days that simply will never return. Those in the younger generation long for simple disappointment — a 10-4 season with Darren McFadden, for example.
It’s the treading water that’s gotten the fan base to this point, not apathy.