Last weekend Drew & I had some friends in town... all the way from Toronto. Being the introvert that I am, I was semi-stressed over it for days. I mean, they are well traveled people and I couldn't help but wonder if we talked up Razorback football so much that they would actually get to Arkansas and be slightly disappointed. I was wrong. Here are the highlights.
-It was raining. All day. Raining.
-We picked them up at their hotel in Rogers and they were totally decked out in Razorback gear. They had done some online shopping in anticipation of their first college football game and they had better Hog attire than we did!
-Drew thought we could drive into downtown Bentonville to show them the original Walmart. We have lived in Northwest Arkansas all of our lives and neither of us really understands why out-of-towners care to visit it, so we thought driving by would be enough. Turns out, driving by was just a tease. They wanted to get out and go in. They took photos of the outside, bought a Walton's Christmas ornament in the gift shop and we all walked through the museum. So far so good.
-Still raining. Check the radar. Going to keep raining.
-A few stops around town and we headed to Fayetteville to the stadium. Drew and I have been to plenty of football games and we were operating on typical game day timing. We got there two hours early, leaving ourselves enough time to deal with traffic, find a parking spot, catch the transit to the stadium, grab a snack and make it to our seats in time for the pregame activities. Apparently lots of people decided to wait until much closer to game time (really unusual), so we immediately found a parking spot and walked right to the first transit bus. So, we were early, but it's okay. We had time to discuss some fun things about the south.
Them: There was gravy on the breakfast buffet this morning.
Them: Gravy. For breakfast.
Us: Yes. You need to understand that in the south everything is either 1) fried 2) covered in butter or 3) smothered in gravy. Or... all three. Gravy goes with everything!
Them: We looked up the Hog Call. Woo Sooie Pig?
Us: Close. Woo Pig Sooie.
Them: But how do we do it?
All together: Practice calling the Hogs so they will be prepared.
Us: Do you want to get some lunch in the stadium?
Them: Is there pork? Feels like we should eat pork at a Razorback game.
Us: Of course, many choices.
-We went to three different concession stands to get all the right stuff (which was fine since the crowds had yet to arrive). He chose a fried bologna sandwich and she chose a BBQ pork sandwich. Everyone was happy.
-We accessed the rain (still raining), decided it was light enough to move to our seat. It was one hour until kick off and the stands were still sparse. I was getting nervous that I had talked up the crowds and loyalty too much and that I was about to be proven wrong. I wasn't. We watched the teams warm up as the stadium slowly filled in. When the cheer leaders rolled into the stadium on top of the truck that carries our mascot, Tusk, our friends were so impressed. She couldn't believe how big the real razorback was! Then the band. They loved the band! It had never occurred to me that they have never seen a marching band. I mean, I was in band for 6 years and I grew up in the south. Marching band is a constant, especially if we are talking about college football. However, for a hockey loving couple from Toronto, a marching band is a novelty! I was so happy that the band impressed them! Then... it was time to welcome the team to the field and call those Hogs! I laughed so hard when the first Hog Call was over and she turned to me with disappointment and said, "Wait, I messed it up! I didn't do it right!" I assured her that she would have plenty more opportunities. She did.
-The Hogs played awesome, we yelled a lot, cheered them on and sat through every single minute of that very rainy game. When we were up 27-0 in the 4th quarter (a really big deal) we asked if they wanted to leave or stay. They said, "We have to stay until the end!"
-So, yes, the game was a huge success. They were amazed that it was 7pm by the time we got back to our truck and admitted that we weren't lying when we had told them that a college football game was not just something you attend, it is something you do all day! They seemed to really enjoy it and I'm so glad.
-The Christmas lights on the Fayetteville square had been turned on the night before, so we drove them around the square to see them. (It's a big deal around here.) They loved it, took photos and marveled at how we can turned an illuminated Razorback into Christmas décor! Um, yeah. Razorbacks are appropriate décor for any situation!
-On to dinner. We chose a local sports bar/grill for our after game dinner. Expanding on our earlier conversation about food...
Them: Chicken fried steak.
Them: It's beef?
Them: But, it's called CHICKEN fried steak.
Us: Yes. It's beef, but it's battered and fried like a piece of chicken.
Them: But, it is beef.
Us: Yes. And covered in gravy.
That's what he ordered and seemed to enjoy it greatly. We also ordered fried pickles for an appetizer and she made sure to take a photo before we ate them!
It as a super fun day and I'm so glad that our friends enjoyed their short time in Northwest Arkansas. I'm quite happy to have hosted their first experience in the South US! Woo Pig Sooie!!!