LITTLE ROCK, AR - NOVEMBER 19: Head Coach Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas Razorbacks run onto the field before a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at War Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Bulldogs 44-17. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Dear Random Redneck,
I know that you are extremely excited about your upcoming trip to the capitol city and War Memorial Stadium. As I am originally from South Arkansas myself, I remember with fondness the trips to Little Rock to watch the Razorbacks that shaped my identity as a Hog fan. Tailgating on the golf course and attending a game at War Memorial is a great experience, but it is one that is becoming defiled. Its reputation is going down the tubes. A legacy not of maniacally passionate fans overtaking the corner of Fair Park and Markham in a sea of cardinal, but one defined instead by its worst actors. The gaggle of drunken, sloppy, oblivious oafs. Sadly, this, more often than not, means you.
I want to change that. Because I like you. In most any other setting, you are tolerable. You can be pleasant. Good company, even. And because I would feel so bad for allowing someone I like to ruin something else I also like, I have worked up some guidelines for proper behavior on gameday in Little Rock. These thoughts are certainly suitably followed at any venue, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Once War Memorial's reputation is properly reglossed, we can move on to other sites. And the scores of genuinely great people who share South Arkansas with you can breath a little easier.
So, please. Help me help you.
1. Imbibing is encouraged. Saturation is accepted. Complete immersion is never okay. This is the big one. I've spent a lot of hours in a bar in my life, and I have never once seen anyone laugh at a fall down drunk. It's a total drag. Not only are you ruining things for your cohorts by now necessitating a babysitter, your actions before you inevitably pass out carry out consequences upon others as well. Sharing a portable toilet with 50,000 others on a 95-degree September afternoon is unpleasant enough, but dealing with your vomit brings it into the realm of intolerable. God forbid you actually make it inside the stadium first. Further, as your blood-alcohol level increases, your proclivity for the criminal ratchets up as well. I would rather not spend my time inside the stadium worrying more about having my cooler stolen than the opposing defense. You wouldn't act like that at home. You wouldn't act like that with your momma. Don't act like that here, around me.
Because finding your limit is the most bedeviling thing associated with day drinking, please take under advisement some pointers to help you strike the proper balance between happy and horrible. First, hydration is your friend. Start drinking water on Friday. Bring water in your cooler on Saturday. Then... actually drink a bottle or two. Second, you're not 18 anymore. Or maybe you are. Regardless, leave the Goldschläger back in Malvern or McGehee or Magnolia or wherethehellever. Drink beer. If you insist on liquor, drink it with a mixer and make it weak. Saturdays in Little Rock are a marathon. Don't forget that. Last, don't forget to eat. I know that your strength is reserved for hauling your filled to the gills ice chest, but even you could muster the foresight to toss some hot dogs in there and have your wife (or kid) tote the Coleman camp stove. If push really comes to shove, you're not helpless. We both know you've made a meal out of a sleeve of Ritz crackers and some Vy-Eeny Sausages while you were fishing. Or hunting. Or just too lazy to cook and too drunk to drive to McDonalds. Makes a fine meal at the tailgate as well.
2. Camo is not an acceptable color for gameday. No, not even if it's got a Hog on it. Wear red to the game. If not red, wear white. If you must wear headgear, it should also be red or white, or some combination of the two. I am not here to denigrate your style. Your boots are fine. Your jeans are fine. Your camouflage ain't cutting it. Remember, we are going for a sea of red. Thousands united, dressing alike to show our solidarity behind the team. If you're worried about being hidden, THAT is your camo today. You'll look just like everybody else, which is okay today. Ironically, on the golf course, Mossy Oak will make you stick out like a sore thumb.
3. I don't give a rat's ass about what kind of music you listen to. Do not bring your amp. Yes, it's a party, and yes, I know that's how you like to get down. But you are sharing this place with enough folks to populate Pine Bluff and then some, so unless you have a soundproof tent, give us all a break. Your truck stereo is more than enough to pump out relevant scores you want to keep track of, as well as provide a soundtrack for you and your friends AND NOBODY ELSE, should you choose. Leave the Marshall at home.
4. Profanity can be fun. It can be effective. It can be taken WAY too far. For the love of Pete, please no shouting across a fairway any word that might get bleeped on network television. That leaves you plenty to work with. Also, none on clothing, hats, and preferably your vehicle. One last thing on this, especially in an election year. Remember, a word doesn't have to have four letters to be profane. If you want to discuss politics with your neighbor in line at the port-o-let or exhibit your support for a cause or person, be my guest. Just please don't fail to remember that not everyone shares with you the same view of people. And chances are they have probably been drinking as well. It's just a bad idea. Keep it clean-ish. Begging here.
5. Clean up after yourself. Just a little. Don't you have any home training? I know that, post-game, there will be thousands of cigarette butts and hundreds of empty cardboard 30-packs on the ground. It's really not too terribly hard to throw your beer box in the trash when you ice it down and to snuff out your Marlboro before depositing the butt in a Hefty bag. You at least put out a Hefty bag at your tailgate, right? Regardless, even that level of disregard for your environment I can somewhat look past. Ditching personal property because you broke it or you're too lazy to load it or any other reason is just sad, however. Camp chairs, grills, and folding tables should leave the golf course in the same quantity that they entered it. It's really not that hard. And good heavens, no more burning couches. West Virginia, we are not.
So, there they are. Imminently doable, right? I promise that you'll have more fun, or at the very least remember what fun you have. It's so easy. Just a little planning on the front end and some conscientious thought for those around you. You'll feel better about yourself. More importantly, I'll feel better about you. Which is important, because as a product of South Arkansas myself, your actions reflect upon me and thousands of others. And frankly, we're tired of being embarrassed. So shape up, or you're being shipped out to Louisiana. Or worse... Texas!
Go Hogs and see you Saturday!
Stay loyal and true,
Trent Wooldridge (BVC) will be that guy with enough bourbon. He loves the S-E-C chant and honks because he hates Texas. He puts honey on his pizza, demands aisle seats, and sees quitting golf as more of a hobby than actually playing golf. Follow @twooldridge and track his quest to transform his two-year-old into a southpaw ace in the bigs.