Being a Red Wolf fan in a Hog Nation
The clock strikes 4:15 p.m. and Im asking my boss to leave. Its Saturday and I have a football game to get to.
I am not from Northeast Arkansas. Heck, I had never heard of Arkansas State, or Jonesboro, until my junior year of high school.
Growing up in Central Arkansas, I was raised to be a Razorback fan. Being a Hog fan in Jonesboro is like Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit; its just not okay.
I used to tell myself that I would one day attend the University of Arkansas because I didnt know how I would ever cheer for another team. But things dont always work out the way we plan and Im OK with that.
This past Saturday, my beloved Hogs were in my neck of the woods getting beat by the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
For a week, everyone was asking me if I would be home and every time I replied back with a simple No. I dont go to the University of Arkansas; I go to Arkansas State.
So instead of going to Little Rock, I was right here in Jonesboro watching my Red Wolves take on Memphis; I was right where I wanted to be.
Welcome to Gusboro, home of the Arkansas State Red Wolves and some of the most dedicated fans a school could have.
The athletes are more like family members to the supporters who come to watch them play. Thats what makes the crowd loud. Thats what makes the athletes play hard. Thats what makes running with the pack worth every step.
Just ask Zinzan Elan-Puttick, a sophomore of Bloemfontein, South Africa who plays fly-half for the Red Wolves rugby team. Although new to ASU, Puttick has been playing for 12 years and knows how it feels to have the support of a school, and town, behind him.
It is always a honor to have supporters next to the field, gives us more of a sense of pride to play, Puttick said. The more support I have will push me to go that extra mile to show the opponent what ASU rugby is all about. I enjoy ASU because I feel it is where God has led me to exploit my talents and my teammates are great. I show my pride by supporting all the other sporting events as I wish for them to return the favor and act in such a manner that will make my team and school proud.
Junior Taylor Loyd, a History Education major of Fort Smith, made the long drive away from Fayetteville to go to a school where the Razorbacks arent looked at as the Holy Grail.
I chose Arkansas State because I would rather support a team making efforts to get better rather than go where everyone talks about how great their athletics are, Loyd said. Running with the pack is one howl of a time. It means being at every game hours before kickoff and being one of the last to leave.
Flip to the Whos Who section of my senior yearbook and you will find me decked out in Bryant blue playing tug-of-war with a spirit stick. You guessed it; I was voted most school spirit. A title I worked very hard to receive.
It doesnt matter if you have been at Arkansas State for 20 minutes or 20 years, Red Wolf pride overtakes your body.
I was once a girl who found it impossible to cheer for anyone other than the Razorbacks, but I am now a dedicated Red Wolf. Howl yes, I bleed Arkansas State red and I ride the Gus Bus when my legs are tired from running with the pack.
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