Even after nearly two decades working for the same department at the same location, I readily admit my morning commute is a little out of the ordinary. What makes it unique is not the fact that I routinely have to rush out the door to drop my daughters at school on time or get frustrated fighting the morning traffic, rather it is defined where the morning journey ends.
As I pull onto Razorback Road and into the parking lot just in front of the Broyles Center, the Home of the Razorbacks supenly appears glistening in the early morning sun. Although it is a view in which I’ve become familiar, it nonetheless reminds me every day of how the Razorback program has an unparalleled ability to unite Arkansans from every corner of the state.
Even when the seats of Donald W. Reynolds Stadium are empty, fans, visitors and curious onlookers take photos and peer into the stadium trying to recall for just a moment what it is like on game day. The sights and sounds of more than 70,000 cardinal and white clad fans standing and Calling the Hogs is a feeling that is hard to replicate. It is a feeling you can’t get from a big screen HD-TV and the Woo Pig Sooie just isn’t the same at home, even with a state of the art surround sound system.
This year as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, we will re-live memories, not just of particular games or moments, but of the collective pride of a passionate Razorback state. Arkansans define their generations with signature moments like the Game of the Century, the drubbing of No. 1 Texas and that redeeming pass from Stoerner to Lucas.&
And while we don’t know when that next defining chapter will be written, Razorback fans know that those answers will come on Saturdays in the fall within the confines of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and War Memorial Stadium.
The first game of the season always brings new hope and the first game of the Bret Bielema Era has fans excited to see what is to come for the program they love.& Since being hired in December, Coach Bielema has scoured the state making more than 70 speaking appearances. He has shared catfish and barbecue with Razorback fans and answered questions on everything from growing up on a Hog farm to his philosophy on Twitter. In the process he has learned a lot about our state and how much the Razorbacks mean to the most passionate fans in college football.
It is hard for me to fathom that Saturday will mark the 28th time I have watched the Razorbacks take the field for a football season opener. Some have resulted in resounding wins, while some have ended in disappointment. But they all have demonstrated time and time again that Razorback Football is the one thing that binds us together in support of our home team.
So on Saturday, just like the 27 times before, I will get that familiar feeling. As the band marches to the north end of the field, forms the "A" and prepares to welcome the team to the field, those memories will come flooding back. It is time to play football again and there is no better place to be than that magical place that looms just beyond my office window.
I hope to see you there.
Razorback Road is a weekly column published on Thursdays by Associate Athletic Director for Public Relations Kevin Trainor. Trainor is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and has worked for Razorback Athletics for more than 20 years.