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Fall’s approaching and that means it’s time to cheer on the Razorbacks! Attending Razorback sporting events is one of my favorite pastimes, and in my many years of fandom, I’ve learned some dos and don’ts on how to be a great Razorback fan.
DO wear the team colors (cardinal and white). It helps us feel unified and you won’t be mistaken for an opposing fan, or worse, someone who knows nothing about the Razorbacks. If you don’t have a Razorback shirt, run out and buy one at literally any store in Arkansas. If all else fails, wear a plain red shirt.
DON’T heckle opposing fans when you see them around town, in the parking lot, walking to the stadium or, worst case scenario, seated next to you. It should go without saying, but refrain from doing any damage to their personal property. Remember, YOU represent ARKANSAS to that opposing fan. I’m proud of our state and I want other people to return home and be impressed with Razorback fans.
DO cheer hard for the Razorbacks. Those players on the field are student-athletes. They carry full class loads, attend study hall, sweat through multiple practices a day, travel to away games, miss classes and tests, juggle insane schedules, and sacrifice time with friends and family. Acknowledge your appreciation of these student-athletes and your excitement for their sport by cheering hard.
DON’T boo the opposing team when they run on the field. I cringe when this happens. We don’t have to cheer for the other team, but let’s remember they are simply young men and women competing at a high level and we get to benefit by seeing these athletes play. After all, without opposing teams, we’re sitting at a Red-White game.
DO the Hog Call. I admit, it’s a strange cheer, but it’s also one of the most famous cheers in college sports. In 2014, the University of Arkansas trademarked the Hog Call. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s not going anywhere. When opposing fans hear that woooo begin, there’s no mistaking who they’re playing. When our teams hear it, they know they have the full support of Razorback fans behind them. So stand up, get your hands in the air and WOO – PIG – SOOIE!
DON’T curse at the games. I know Razorback fans get emotionally involved, but we have fans of all ages at the game. There’s nothing worse than hearing a fellow fan rip into a string of curses with a young child sitting close by. Nobody appreciates your expletive driven comments. In the same vein, try not to criticize every play the coach calls, or every mistake a player makes. When you verbally assault players and coaches, you’re annoying your fellow fans. You didn’t like the last play? Cheer harder for the next one.
DO be courteous to the fans around you. We’re all here for the same reason. We want to support our Razorbacks and have a fun game day experience. So here’s a few things to keep in mind. Be conscious of where you place your arms, legs, elbows and extra gear like coats and food. Don’t sit in or place objects in seats that aren’t yours. Don’t kick seats in front of you, and watch out when you’re passing through those narrow aisles. Fellow fans will thank you for it.
DON’T leave or return to your seat in the middle of a play unless you’re at an event where there’s no stoppage of time in the game. Most sporting events have breaks between plays, timeouts and other appropriate times when you can stand up and exit your seats, or return, without causing fans around you to miss a play. There’s nothing more annoying than a fan loaded with concessions trying to maneuver down your aisle while a key moment is happening on the field. Don’t be that fan.
DO come prepared for all kinds of weather. I’ve sat through 100 degree heat, shivered in below freezing temps, gotten drenched, rain delayed and braved snowy roads all to be a Razorback fan. Take a look at the weather before you leave home and bring the gear you need. Note that umbrellas aren’t allowed inside stadiums, and bags, purses and bulky coats will be subject to a quick search on entry.
DO interact with the fans around you. I love being a part of Razorback fandom. I truly believe we have one of the greatest fan bases in the nation. So feel free to high five fellow fans after a great play. Make positive comments. Greet each other if you sit in the same section each game. Laugh at funny plays. Groan at missed opportunities. Discuss the difference between this year’s team and last. Go for it. Razorback fans are some of the friendliest and most dedicated around.
Kimberly S. Mitchell loves journeys, real or imagined. She has hiked the Inca Trail, walked into Panama on a rickety wooden bridge and once missed the last train of the night in Paris and walked several miles home (with friends). She believes magic can be found in life and books, loves to watch the stars appear, and still dreams of backpacking the world. Now she writes adventures to send her characters on journeys, too. Pen & Quin: International Agents of Intrigue - The Mystery of the Painted Book is her debut novel. Find out more at KSMitchell.com.