On Saturday afternoon, Razorback fans across the United States will settle into their sofas and recliners to watch the renewal of a rivalry as old as Arkansas football when the Hogs and Horns hook up in Austin, Texas.
For most, it will be around 2:30 p.m. central time.
For one group of extremely devoted Razorback fans, it will be more like 10:30 p.m. local time. That’s the time difference for our troops in Iraq.
Last week during the blog, I used one of the photographs sent in to us from Sergeant Duane Appleget who is serving with the 1st Squadron, 151st Cavalry Regiment, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, located at Tallil Airbase in Iraq. Sgt. Appleget has been indefatigable when it comes to Razorback games. From working to get his account set to hear the non-televised games through RazorVision to creating banners with the Classic Razorback logo for tonight’s UA-UT game, Sgt. Appleget has been a fan’s fan.
Attached to the pre-blog today is a photo album of the 1st Squadron, 151st’s “tailgate” party for the Alabama-Arkansas game. Thanks to the 11:30 central time kick off, the troops could move their regular Sunday bar-be-que to Saturday evening.
The good sergeant keeps his emails with us to the games, but I’ll step out to use the internet to tell you a bit about what their life is like. The heat at the airbase, which is about 300 or so kilometers southeast of Baghdad, is oppressive; as much as 120 degrees in the shade. It sits in the middle of a desert of grayish, fine-grained sand that is more like dust. The winds, which Appleget has mentioned, rip through the area. Camp Adder is the southernmost resupply point for the U.S. Army, a place one web resource called “a dusty, middle-of-nowhere place.”
Today, as you sink your chips into dip, our men in Iraq will be watching, but because the 2:30 start pushes the game into quiet time on the base the revelry will be more subdued. The Arkansas-Texas game is on Armed Forces Network Atlantic, and they’ll still be firing up the projector at the Contingency Operating Base at Camp Adder.
These are the kind of efforts to be a part of the Razorback Nation that should make us all proud. And, on our end at the worldwide headquarters of the Razorback Nation, it makes us feel good to know that through our program to provide free RazorVision membership to on-duty military deployed overseas that we can bring a little bit of home to them as they perform their duties.
With any luck, the Razorback flag that flies over their base in Iraq will, like our deployed Arkansans, make it home safe. Sgt. Applegat wants to present the flag you see in the photos to the department when they return. We’ll be waiting.
The good sergeant isn’t the only distant fans. We hear from our ex-patriot Razorbacks in the Bay Area in California, and our Italian outpost near Padua.
Yes, Italian. Senior Fulbright fellow and UA horticulture professor Curt Rom is in Italy for research and lecturing at the University of Padua, which is the second oldest university in Europe. He has drawn in the locals to cheer il Porcine. They were listening over the internet and reading live blog last week. Cheese, olives, Italian bread and local beverages were the bill-o-fare the the Italian tailgate.
But tonight, the blog goes to volleyball this evening. With the football team on the road at Austin, the live blog moves to Barnhill Arena as Coach Robert Pulliza’s Razorbacks take on one of the nation’s top teams, the Florida Gators. It is Pack the Barn night with $1 admission and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is calling a Code Red – asking all of the student-athletes from the other sports that aren’t traveling this weekend to rally behind their fellow Razorbacks.
Until about 6 p.m. tonight from Barnhill . . . .